Pro-life Caucus rally at the Capitol

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The new session of the General Assembly has sparked an old fight at the state Capitol over abortion.

During a news conference Thursday, pro-life lawmakers announced they are moving several bills that would restrict or even ban abortion in Kentucky, knowing the bills will likely end up in court.

"We look forward to moving a pro-life agenda forward here in Kentucky," said Rep. Tim Moore of Elizabethtown, the chairman of the General Assembly's Pro-Life Caucus.

The caucus, which includes both Republicans and Democrats, is pushing four bills this session.

"Four pieces of legislation that will begin to make a statement in support of life," Moore said.

  • House Bill 5 would ban abortion based on race, gender or disability.
  • Senate Bill 50 requires accurate reporting of chemically induced abortions.
  • One bill that has not yet been filed would totally ban abortion should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade.
  • Senate Bill 9 would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is roughly at six weeks.

"If there is a detection of a heartbeat, that child is a living human being, and you can no longer murder this child in its mother's womb," said SB 9's primary sponsor, Sen. Matt Castlen of Maceo.

Abortion rights advocates said the proposals are "dangerous" to the health of women, and they criticize lawmakers for passing bills that will likely be overturned by the courts.

"Why do legislators continue to pass bills that are clearly unconstitutional?" asked Kate Miller of the ACLU of Kentucky.

Federal judges have already put three Kentucky laws restricting abortion on hold.

"It's going to be another lawsuit that's going to take away from the real work that needs to be happening and the real issues,” said Tamarra Wieder of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana. “Kentucky faces so many health crises."

But the lawmakers said they will keep pushing.

"In God's good time, whether it's in the Supreme Court or other levels of federal court, these laws will be defended, they will prevail, and right will prevail," Moore said.

The group applauded Gov. Matt Bevin who briefly attended the rally, but did not speak. His office has defended the previous laws restricting abortion against court challenges.

Lawmakers take a break after this week, so the first of the four bills will likely not come for a floor vote until they return in February.

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I cover a range of stories for WDRB, but really enjoy tracking what's going on at our State Capitol. I grew up on military bases all over the world, but am a Kentuckian at heart. I'm an EKU alum, and have lived in Louisville for 30 years.