KY governor signs sixth pro-life law he’s pushed for since taking office; judge blocks it

KY governor signs sixth pro-life law he’s pushed for since taking office; judge blocks it
In its defense of House Bill 5, the Bevin administration says "doctors must be viewed as healers, not as enablers and practitioners of eugenics." (Source: WAVE 3 News)

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A bill Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law aiming to limit abortion in the state has been blocked by a federal judge.

House Bill 5 prevents a woman from getting an abortion based on the race, gender or disability of her unborn child. If the abortion went on, the woman would be charged with a felony and the doctor’s license would be revoked.

Bevin signed HB 5 Tuesday, and it went into effect immediately due to an emergency clause it contained.

Wednesday, a federal judge granted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky’s motion to block the law from going into effect through a temporary restraining order.

That restraining order went into effect Wednesday at 5 p.m. and lasts for 14 days.

Attorneys with the ACLU filed the motion on behalf of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, the last abortion clinic in the state.

The ACLU argued any attempt to limit abortions goes against a woman’s constitutional rights. Advocates said this law “would bar a woman from having an abortion if she decided to have one because of a fetal diagnosis.”

“The passage of House Bill 5 represents a thinly veiled effort of the Kentucky General Assembly to advance their anti-abortion agenda under the guise of an anti-discrimination bill,” Heather Gatnarek, staff attorney at the ACLU of Kentucky, said in a press release. “This law will do nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians with disabilities.”

In its defense of the law, the Bevin administration says “doctors must be viewed as healers, not as enablers and practitioners of eugenics.”

Bevin’s administration filed a response to the ACLU’s motion Tuesday. It begins:

“Imagine that a woman in Kentucky wants an abortion merely because she wants a girl rather than a boy. Or imagine that the woman wants an abortion because she does not want her child to be a certain race or nationality. Or imagine that the woman wants an abortion because her unborn child has a non-lethal disability like Down syndrome. Until now, abortions like these have been legal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Read the full response from the state by clicking or tapping here.

Another anti-abortion law, Senate Bill 9, was also passed and signed during this session. It bans abortions if a heartbeat is detected, which usually happens around six weeks of pregnancy. That law has also been blocked for now. The same federal judge, who will rule on both cases, granted a temporary restraining order for it, as well.

In all, HB 5 is the sixth pro-life law signed by Bevin since he took office in 2016. In addition to HB 5 and SB 9, three others have been challenged by the ACLU and are blocked as the court battle continues.

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