Frankfort, Ky., Feb 15, 2019 / 04:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Kentucky Senate has approved a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy.
The bill passed 31-6 on Feb. 14. It will now head to the state’s House, which has a Republican majority.
During a committee review of the measure earlier on Thursday, the heartbeat of a Kentucky resident’s unborn baby was played live through an electronic monitor. The woman, April Lanham, is a resident of the district of the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Matt Castlen (R).
“That child in her womb is a living human being,” said Castlen, according to the Associated Press. “And all living human beings have a right to life.”
Lanham, who is 18 weeks into her pregnancy, told reporters that she thought her baby’s heartbeat would be a “powerful noise” for lawmakers ahead of the vote.
If the law passes, an examination would be required before an abortion to determine whether the unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. If so, an abortion would be illegal, unless the mother’s health is determined to be in danger.
The Kentucky bill is one of several similar heartbeat bills being considered throughout the country.
Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia have also introduced fetal heartbeat bills this year. A handful of states have passed similar bills in recent years, although they generally face court challenges.
Opponents of the bill promised similar legal challenges if Kentucky’s legislation becomes law.
“This law is patently unconstitutional,” said Kate Miller, who works with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. “The second it is signed, the ACLU of Kentucky will file a lawsuit. And much like the other laws you have passed, we expect that you will be held up in litigation unsuccessfully for years.”
Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood and now pro-life activist, spoke in favor of the legislation at the committee hearing on Thursday.
“Abortion can never, on its face, be safe, because in order for an abortion to be deemed successful, an individual and unique human with a beating heart must die,” Johnson said, according to WDRB.
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