New bill restricting abortion in Kentucky headed to Gov. Matt Bevin's desk
HB 454 would ban a type of abortion that dismembers the fetus.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill that would ban some abortions in Kentucky has received final passage in the Kentucky legislature, but it could be challenged in court.
House Bill 454 is the only abortion bill that lawmakers have passed this session. The bill restricts abortion clinics, such as EMW in Louisville, the only clinic in Kentucky, from doing a procedure called dilation and extraction, which dismembers the fetus.
It would be illegal after the 11th week of pregnancy.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Addia Wuchner (R-Florence), said the measure is not about challenging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
“This law, here in the commonwealth, is about the humane treatment of an unborn child,” she said during the debate on the House floor.
The bill passed the House 75-13 after clearing the Senate 31-5, but one critic said it could have unintended consequences by forcing women to seek abortions out of state.
“Get an abortion later in their pregnancy out of state, because it takes time to save up that money and those resources, or to self-abort,” said Marcie Crim of the Kentucky Health Justice Network.
Crim and other opponents of the bill say it is unconstitutional and will likely be challenged in court. Judges have already blocked similar laws in six states.
The ACLU of Kentucky would not comment on a possible lawsuit but released a statement saying it will "continue to fight back against extreme legislative attacks on Kentuckians' reproductive rights."
Margie Montgomery of Kentucky Right to Life said it is not the bill that is extreme, but the procedure.
“Well, it's extreme cruelty to a little tiny helpless child,” she said.
Montgomery said she expects a legal challenge.
“That is not reason alone not to pass a piece of good legislation to help the unborn baby,” Montgomery said.
There has been no comment from Gov. Matt Bevin's office. But Bevin, who describes himself as pro-life, is expected to sign the bill into law. He released a statement Wednesday night:
HB 454 signifies Kentucky’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of unborn children. In a society that increasingly devalues human life, we must continue to unapologetically advance laws that will protect those who cannot protect themselves. With every pro-life bill that becomes law, we send the same message: Kentucky stands for life.
A federal judge overturned an abortion ultrasound bill lawmakers passed and Bevin signed in 2017. The state is appealing.
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