Kentucky Judge Blocks Law Banning Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heart Begins Beating

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 18, 2019   |   11:45AM   |   Frankfort, KY

A federal judge blocked Kentucky’s heartbeat law Friday, allowing unborn babies to continue to be aborted in the state.

U.S District Court Judge David J. Hale, an appointee of President Barack Obama, granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request to temporarily block the law on the grounds that it is potentially unconstitutional, the Huffington Post reports.

The heartbeat law, which passed last week, 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.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit immediately after Gov. Matt Bevin signed it into law. On Friday, Hale’s order temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the law until another hearing occurs.

“This onslaught of bans on abortion that fly in the face of Roe v. Wade are designed specifically for the purposes of trying to get the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe,” ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri told the AP. “If the six-week ban takes effect, the consequences will be devastating.”

The pro-abortion legal group estimated the law would prohibit 90 percent of all abortions in Kentucky, according to The New York Times. The state currently has one abortion facility.

The governor’s office plans to fight the challenge. Attorney Steve Pitt, general counsel for Bevin, said he believes the abortion industry is getting desperate.

“This case or others like it from other states will result in major changes in abortions in the U.S. in the near future,” Pitt said, Breitbart reports. “The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and others favoring unlimited abortions know this and are in a panic.”

However, state Attorney General Andy Beshear predicted that the law will not be upheld in court, according to the Huffington Post. Beshear is a pro-abortion Democrat who has refused to defend other state pro-life laws.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has uniformly held — in no fewer than eight separate decisions — that neither Congress nor a state legislature can ban abortions” before an unborn baby is viable, Beshear wrote in a letter, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Amiri argued this as well, saying: “We think this is a very straightforward legal issue. States can’t ban abortion. It has been well settled over 40 years ago in Roe v. Wade.”

Oddly, in the same lawsuit, the ACLU also challenged a pro-life bill that Bevin has not signed into law yet. Hale did not rule on state House Bill 5, which would protect unborn babies from discriminatory abortions based on the sex, disability or race.

Bevin quickly slammed the ACLU for challenging something that does not exist. He encouraged the legal group to watch an old “Schoolhouse Rock” video that explains how bills become law.

“People that are supposedly defending the civic rights of people in this country nonetheless think it’s appropriate that you can kill a child based on its race or kill a child based on its gender,” Bevin said. “The people in Kentucky … fortunately don’t agree with that.”

Some pro-life leaders have expressed concerns about heartbeat legislation as well. The goal is to prevent the deaths of thousands of unborn babies every year and 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.