Fetal heartbeat bill passes Kentucky Senate

SB 9 makes abortions illegal at the detection of a fetal heartbeat
The Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky.
The Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Updated: Feb. 14, 2019 at 7:22 PM EST
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Bill which makes abortion illegal after detection of fetal heartbeat passes Kentucky Senate

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky state Senate passed a bill that would make abortions illegal at the detection of a fetal heartbeat.

The SB 9 made it through the Senate with a 31-6 vote. It was passed through committee on the same day.

It will now head to the House.

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Emotional testimony was heard from those who came to speak both for its passage and against it during the committee meeting Thursday morning.

Some who spoke to lawmakers claimed Senate Bill 9 was an overreach of government, while others said lawmakers had a moral obligation to pass it.

The bill bans abortion if a heartbeat is detected in the womb.

Its critics said that means an abortion decision would have to be made around week 5 or 6 of a pregnancy, when some women may not even know they’re pregnant.

Proponents disagreed saying the bill specifies the use of an external ultrasound, which would typically be able to identify a heartbeat at around ten weeks.

Members of the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other groups argued the bill doesn’t provide for exceptions in the case of rape.

“SB 9 is intended to ban almost all abortion in the commonwealth with no exemptions for rape, no exemptions for incest or fetal anomaly,” Tamara Wieder, a Kentucky Planned Parenthood representative, said.

Those against the legislation add that the short window for an abortion would essentially outlaw the practice as a whole and push women to seek dangerous procedures, while groups in support of the bill said the detection of a heartbeat is the detection of life, which should be protected.

“It is unjust to take the life of a human being,” Abby Johnson, a supporter of the bill who used to operate an abortion clinic, said.

Both disagreed over whether the bill would protect women who may have dangerous pregnancies.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Matt Castlen, had a guest conduct an ultrasound on a pregnant woman to demonstrate the sound of a fetal heartbeat on the committee floor.

A representative from the ACLU said the bill would see a legal challenge from the group as soon as it passes.

Both sides argued of the constitutionality of the bill, if it reaches the US Supreme Court.

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