Kentucky abortion bills signed, effective immediately

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed both abortion bills into law on Monday.Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed both abortion bills into law on Monday.

Story highlights

  • SB5 prohibits abortions in the state at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy
  • HB2 requires ultrasounds for pregnant women seeking an abortion

(CNN)Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Monday signed two bills that put tighter restrictions on abortion, including one measure prohibiting the procedure at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The bills include an emergency provision, making them effective immediately after Bevin’s signature.
The first, House Bill 2, now requires a physician or technician to perform an ultrasound, describe and display the ultrasound images to the mother, and provide audio of the fetal heartbeat to the mother before she may have an abortion.
The text of the bill says the pregnant woman may choose to avert her eyes from the images, and request the volume of the heartbeat be turned down or off.
The second measure, Senate Bill 5, prohibits abortions in the state at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill would not apply in cases where an abortion is required to save the life of the mother or prevent serious risk of bodily harm to the mother, but it does not contain exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
The measures passed the Republican-led state Legislature on Saturday.
In a press release, Bevin said: “This is truly a new day in Kentucky,” after signing the two bills, along with five other measures covering matters including labor unions and their membership.
The American Civil Liberties Union immediately filed a lawsuit on Monday over the ultrasound measure, and is awaiting a judge’s decision.
“We’ve requested an emergency temporary restraining order,” said Amber Duke, communications director ACLU of Kentucky.
The ACLU of Kentucky and the ACLU Foundation filed the legal challenge on behalf of Kentucky’s sole licensed outpatient abortion facility, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, three physicians, and their patients, according to the ACLU.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said the 20-week ban “is not just shameful — it’s dangerous for women.”
“A woman has the right to make her own personal, private decisions about her health and medical care. This bill takes that right away,” she said. “Make no mistake — Kentuckians flat out reject these abortion bans and attacks on reproductive health care.”
Ingrid Duran, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, was quoted on the organization’s website saying the legislation “sets a tone for the 2017 session in all states: that the unborn child deserves protection.”
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