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Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron changes his abortion position once again

The Kentucky Republican said he would only allow rape and incest abortion exceptions if courts forced him.

By Emily Singer - September 29, 2023
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Daniel Cameron
Kentucky Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Daniel Cameron, speaks to supporters during the first stop of his multi-city campaign tour in Richmond, Ky., on June 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Kentucky attorney general and Republican gubernatorial nominee Daniel Cameron has changed his position on abortion for the second time in as many weeks, saying now that he would only allow exceptions for rape and incest in Kentucky’s near-total ban on abortion if he was forced to by a court order.

Cameron, who is seeking to oust Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, has been struggling to defend himself against attacks from Beshear’s campaign over his abortion stance.

Beshear’s campaign has released two ads highlighting Cameron’s support for Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act, a draconian abortion ban that only allows the procedure in cases in which a pregnant person’s life is at risk. The law went into effect the day the Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. That same day, Cameron voiced his support for the law, declaring in a news conference: “Abortion is, for all intents and purposes, over here in the Commonwealth, with the exception of life. There is no rape and incest exception.”

On Sept. 18, Cameron was asked by a local radio host to defend himself against Beshear’s ads highlighting Cameron’s abortion position and appeared to completely reverse his stance.

“Look, I’m going to make sure that we have a culture of life here, but the things that have been said in these ads, they are shameful,” Cameron replied. “If someone rapes a child, we are going to go after them with the full force of the law, and that should never happen. And if our Legislature was to bring legislation before me that provided exceptions for rape and incest, I would sign that legislation, there’s no question about that.”

Now Cameron has reversed his position again.

The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained an audio recording of an unidentified woman telling Cameron at a campaign event that she was disappointed in his reversal of position on rape and incest exceptions to Kentucky’s abortion law.

Cameron replied: “I support the Human Life Protection Act, which I have defended. My point was that if — we are in a fight with the courts right now, and so if the courts were to strike down and say that we needed to add, of course I would sign that because I still want to protect life. But that would just be based on if our courts made that change; it wouldn’t be me, proactively.”

Abortion has become a potent electoral issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

Polls show majorities of voters across the country believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. And Republicans, who pushed for abortion bans for years before Roe was overturned, are struggling to respond to criticism from their Democratic opponents on the issue.

Even in traditionally Republican states, voters have rejected efforts to write abortion bans into state constitutions.

In Kentucky, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment in November 2022 by a margin of 52% to 48%. The proposed amendment said, “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

Beshear’s campaign has focused on highlighting Cameron’s abortion stance, running two ads in which a prosecutor and a rape survivor slammed Cameron for not supporting exceptions.

Cameron responded in a direct-to-camera video, calling Beshear’s ads disgusting and false.

Polls show Beshear with a steady lead over Cameron, with the most recent survey from Sept. 1 showing Beshear leading Cameron by 9 points.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political analysis outlet, rates it a Tilt Democratic contest.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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