Legislature Overrides Democratic Governor's Veto of Bills That Crack Down on Abortion and Trans Competitors in Girls' Sports


In two big wins for Republicans, the Kentucky state legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes of bills banning transgender athletes from competing in female sports and protecting unborn children.

With GOP lawmakers’ vote to override Beshear’s veto of the Save Women’s Sports legislation, Kentucky became the sixth state this year and the 15th overall to prohibit men and boys who identify as female from competing against girls and women, NBC News reported.

When the Democratic governor vetoed Senate Bill 83 on April 6, he claimed that it “most likely violates the equal protection rights afforded by the United States Constitution because it discriminates against transgender children seeking to participate in girls’ or women’s sports,” according to WLKY-TV.

But those who supported the bill argued that it was necessary to ensure a fair playing field for female athletes.

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who competed against transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas in an NCAA championship race, spoke out in favor of the legislation.

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“I know I speak for the majority of female athletes across every NCAA sport when I say biological males should not be competing against women,” Gaines said, according to NBC News. “It’s crucial for the NCAA to open its eyes and recognize the irrefutable damage being done to everything Title IX stands for: equity, fairness and creating opportunities for women to succeed at an elite level and in life.”

The Senate voted 29-8 to override the governor’s veto, and the House followed suit.

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“This is a huge win for the integrity of women’s sports and with the inevitable enactment of Senate Bill 83 into law,” said Republican state Sen. Robby Mills, sponsor of the bill. “Kentucky is a leading voice for female athletes across the nation. The Kentucky General Assembly stands in support of female athletes everywhere as they work hard to achieve their goals and dreams.”

House Bill 3 was also passed into law after the legislature overrode Beshear’s veto.

The sweeping pro-life bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Nancy Tate, prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, bans the distribution of abortion pills by mail and raises the standards for minors seeking abortions.

It also requires the creation of an expansive certification and monitoring system to track the details of abortions administered in the commonwealth, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Those who opposed the bill argued that the new regulations would be impossible to implement without additional funding, severely limiting abortions in Kentucky.

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Beshear cited that in a statement on his April 8 veto, along with claiming the bill was “likely unconstitutional” and saying it “contains no exceptions or exclusions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.”

Tate defended the latter provision, saying abortion in such cases is “the ultimate punishment of death for the child in the womb that is conceived from a heinous crime.”

The House voted 76-21 to override Beshear’s veto of HB3, and the Senate voted 31-6.

“We’re proud of the Kentucky Legislature for standing up to pro-abortion Governor Beshear,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement.

“Beshear is an extremist who regularly sides with the abortion lobby against constituents and must be held accountable,” she said. “Like most Americans, Kentuckians want commonsense safeguards for unborn babies and their mothers and reject abortion on demand.”

The voting for both veto overrides stayed largely along party lines, showing that Republicans still have sway in Kentucky.

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