Kentucky lawmakers began the new year by introducing three different bills to help protect babies and moms from abortion on Tuesday.
The Associated Press reports a bill to ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates babies can feel pain “surfaced as a quick priority” on the first day of the legislative session Tuesday in Kentucky.
In Kentucky, Republicans control both state houses, and Gov. Matt Bevin is pro-life, giving rise to strong hopes that the bills will pass.
A state Senate vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act could come as early as this week, Senate leaders told reporters.
“There is, at this point in time, two viable beings involved in this decision,” Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said. “One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not conceive. But once conception starts, there becomes another life involved. And the legislature has its ability to control how that life may proceed.”
Kentucky Democrats and the American Civil Liberties Union quickly criticized the measure and claimed it could be unconstitutional. However, 15 states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act laws in the past several years, and only two have faced challenges so far, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
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Together, these laws potentially are saving thousands of babies’ lives. There were at least 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.
A second abortion-related bill introduced this week in Kentucky would stop taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthoods and other abortion providers in the state, The Hill reports.
The third bill introduced in the Kentucky House on Tuesday would require that women seeking abortions receive an ultrasound before having the procedure, the report states.
Here’s more from The Hill:
A third measure would require anyone seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound before the procedure takes place. That measure builds on an informed consent law passed last year, and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin (R), that requires women seeking an abortion to be told about the fetus.
All three measures are likely to pass the state Senate, which has been controlled by Republicans for more than a decade, and the state House, which Republicans captured in the 2016 elections. Newly installed state House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R) has said there is “overwhelming support” for the 20-week abortion ban in his chamber.