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Anti-abortion bills pass legislature; ACLU sues

The Kentucky General Assembly has passed two anti-abortion bills and sent them to Gov. Matt Bevin for his signatures. The ACLU has pledged to block both measures in court.

The Fetal Heartbeat Bill finally passed the Kentucky House of Representatives Thursday night, joining another anti-abortion measure that passed the legislature earlier that day. Both were sent to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk for signing.
The ACLU’s response? See you in court.
The Heartbeat Bill (SB 9) 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 other bill, HB 5, also known as the Reason Abortion Ban, would bar a woman from having an abortion if she decided to have one because of a fetal diagnosis or the sex, race, national origin or ancestry of the fetus, except in cases of medical emergency.
The ACLU is suing to block implementation of both bills.
“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.”
The suit was filed on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the state’s only abortion provider, in U.S. District for the Western District of Kentucky.
The Jewish Community of Louisville has made clear its opposition to both bills.
“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 JCL statement. “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 anti-abortion legislation “an abhorrent afront to women’s rights to govern their own bodies.”
Attorney General Andy Beshear, responding initially to SB 9, said the bill is “unconstitutional.”

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