Kentucky has just become another state to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which is often around six weeks of pregnancy.
The “fetal heartbeat bill” was signed by Republican Governor Matt Bevin last Thursday.
“I am deeply grateful to be governor of a state that so overwhelmingly values the sanctity of human life,” he said in a press release. “Kentucky is leading the charge in this vitally important fight for the heart and soul of our great nation.”
Three other pro-life bills were also signed the same day. Senate Bill 50, also called the Chemical Abortion Reporting Act, states that doctors must inform patients of reversal medication abortions.
House Bill 5, the Human Rights of the Unborn Child and Anti-Discrimination Act, forbids abortions based off of sex, race or perceived disability.
And, House Bill 148 looks to the future should Roe v. Wade be overturned and bans all abortions in the state.
Bevin had attempted the heartbeat bill earlier this year, but was blocked by Judge David J. Hale, who ruled the law potentially unconstitutional, the New York Times reports.
With only one abortion clinic in the state, the Kentucky ACLU has also attempted to protect its existence. In 2017, Bevin signed another law requiring a written agreement with a hospital to transfer any patient with a medical emergency. ACLU feared the clinic would have to close should the bill be enforced, though that did not end up being true.
“There would have been no clinic in the state of Kentucky, which is an incredible burden on a patient’s ability to access care, about the most burdensome you can get,” Heather Gatnarek of Kentucky ALCU said. “There is no evidence put forth that patients who go to hospitals that have transfer agreements are better cared for than those without.”
Earlier this week, the Public Religion Research Institute released a survey indicating that 54 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, as reported by the Christian Post. Another survey, presented by Planned Parenthood according to the Courier, showed that 65% of Kentuckians believe women should have “access to all of the reproductive health care options available, including abortion.”
The ACLU does not plan on suing over this bill at this time.
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Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.