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Kentucky lawmakers kick off session with three pro-life bills

Kentucky lawmakers are kicking off the legislative session by fast-tracking a trio of pro-life bills, including a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and a measure stripping Planned Parenthood of millions in taxpayer funding.

Senate Bill 5 was approved Wednesday by a Senate committee and could receive a floor vote as early as Friday. House Speaker Jeff Hoover said the five-month abortion ban — considered the point at which the unborn can feel pain — would receive overwhelming support from a Republican-controlled House.

“There is, at this point in time, two viable beings involved in this decision,” Mr. Hoover said. “One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not conceive. But once conception starts, another life is involved, and the Legislature has the ability to determine how that life may proceed.”

Lawmakers say the bill will contain exceptions in the cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother. Abortionists who perform procedures after 20 weeks would be subject to fines and other penalties.

Kentucky is one of 25 states where Republicans have control of the governorship and both chambers of the legislature. Democrats had controlled the House in Kentucky for nearly a century before it flipped in the 2016 election cycle.

Kentucky Republicans are making the most of the opportunity: Just hours after the legislative session began, House lawmakers introduced a measure to require abortionists to conduct ultrasounds and describe unborn children to their mothers before performing abortions.

Opponents say that bill is medically unnecessary, while pro-life advocates say mothers should have as much information as possible before having an abortion. Various ultrasound requirements for abortions are on the books in 25 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

A third measure pending in the legislature would strip Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding.

Several states and the U.S. Congress have moved to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider in the wake of an undercover video investigation alleging the nation’s largest abortion provider trafficks in fetal body parts from abortions. Planned Parenthood receives roughly $ 500 million in annual funding from the government.

Representatives from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union took to the state Capitol on Wednesday to protest the windfall of pro-life legislation.

Marcie Crim, executive director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, said some women will procure unsafe abortions in response to the regulations.

“The decision to become a parent is a big one, and the best person to make that decision is the person facing it,” Ms. Crim said at a press conference. “Kentuckians should not have to jump through hoops and over walls to access a safe, legal procedure. And as our state lawmakers work to make more barriers, they should know that trying to prevent abortions does not prevent abortions; it just prevents safe abortions.”

Tamarri Wieder, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said the decision to terminate a pregnancy is none of the government’s business.

“We trust that women should have access to high-quality health care, and abortion is a part of reproductive health care,” she said. “Abortion did not just start happening after Roe v. Wade; women just stopped dying from them. We are on the brink here in Kentucky, and I along with many people here in the commonwealth do not trust the path we are heading down.”

The 20-week abortion ban is a top priority of the pro-life movement on the federal and state levels.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican signed a 20-week abortion ban into law last month, making the Buckeye State the 18th to prohibit abortions on unborn children who can feel pain. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has vowed to veto a similar bill in Virginia, and courts have blocked bans on pain-capable abortions in Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.

Republicans also acquired unified governments in Missouri and Iowa this election cycle.

Outgoing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, previously vetoed a 20-week abortion ban in that state. But Gov.-elect Eric Greitens, a Republican, ran on a pro-life platform and is poised to approve the measure there.


Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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