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Abortion ban passes legislature; ACLU sues

(Editor’s note: This is a revised version of an earlier story.)
As the so-called fetal heartbeat bill awaits action in the Kentucky House of Representatives, the legislature has just passed another anti-abortion bill and sent it to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk for signing.
The ACLU’s response? See you in court.
House Bill 5 would bar a woman from having an abortion if she decided to have one because of a fetal diagnosis. It also bans abortions based on the sex, race, national origin or ancestry of the fetus.
The law would take effect upon the governor’s signature.
In response, the ACLU filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the state’s sole remaining abortion provider.
“Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy must be made by the woman and her family. But this law takes the decision away from them and hands it over to politicians,” Brigitte Amiri, deputy director with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said in a prepared statement. “Kentucky women must be able to have private conversations with their health care providers and must be able to decide whether to have an abortion. We see this legislation for exactly what it is – part of a campaign to prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion if she needs one – and we won’t stand for it.”
While Louisville Jewish organizations have not taken a position on this bill, they have come out against another anti-abortion measure, SB 9, which would require doctors who perform abortions to first check for a fetal heartbeat and prevent them from performing the procedure if one is detected. It would provide exceptions for medical emergencies, though proper documentation would be required.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – a time when many women don’t even know they are pregnant.
The Senate has already passed SB 9, but the House has yet to give it a final vote.
Louisville Jewish organizations have lined up in opposition to the legislation.
“We believe reproductive health decisions are best made by individuals in consultation with their families and health care professionals based on personal religious beliefs,” according to a prepared statement from the Jewish Community of Louisville. “We strongly oppose any limitation on a woman’s right to fully exercise her constitutionally protected reproductive rights.”
NCJW Louisville Executive Director Jeanne Freibert called the bill “an abhorrent afront to women’s rights to govern their own bodies.”
Attorney General Andy Beshear says the bill is “unconstitutional.”

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