Kentucky House Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions After Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 27, 2019   |   7:28PM   |   Frankfort, KY

Kentucky soon may have a law to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable.

On Wednesday, the Kentucky House Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection passed state Senate Bill 9, moving it one step closer to becoming law, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

The state Senate passed the bill earlier this month, and pro-life Gov. Matt Bevin is expected to sign it if it reaches his desk. However, the ACLU of Kentucky has said it will sue the state if the bill becomes law.

Sponsored by state Sen. Matt Castlen, Senate Bill 9 would require abortionists to check if an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable before performing an abortion; if the baby does have a heartbeat, the abortion would be prohibited. Exceptions would be allowed for medical emergencies.

An unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant, and abortion activists admit that heartbeat laws ban basically all abortions.

During the meeting Wednesday, abortion survivor Claire Culwell encouraged lawmakers to pass the pro-life legislation and protect babies like herself from abortion, according to the report.

“I wanted to show you my face. I wanted to show you the face of an abortion survivor,” Culwell said. “We can talk about women’s rights, but my rights were just as important as my birth mother’s rights.”

However, Dr. Nicole Nolan, a University of Louisville obstetrician, claimed the abortion ban will hurt women, according to the Courier Journal.

“This bill will hurt women,” Nolan said. “This bill will hurt my patients.”

Before the Senate passed the bill, one of the most powerful testimonies came from Kentucky mother April Lanham when she allowed a Senate committee to hear her unborn baby’s heartbeat through a Doppler device, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported at the time. It was a moment that even secular news outlets described as “powerful.”

This winter, pro-life lawmakers have introduced a number of heartbeat bills including in Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The goal of the legislation is to prevent the deaths of thousands of unborn babies every year and potentially lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, even some pro-life advocates admit that the success of the legislation is uncertain. North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down both laws. In January, a judge declared Iowa’s heartbeat law unconstitutional.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week abortion ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”

When courts rule against such laws, state taxpayers often are forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.