Kentucky Passes 20 Week Abortion Ban

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Wasting no time in the new Republican-controlled session, the Kentucky legislature just passed a 20 week abortion ban today. The bill will now go to Governor Matt Bevin (who is expected to sign the bill into law immediately).

Republicans proposed the legislation – SB5 – at the beginning of the legislative session earlier this week. If Bevin signs it into law, it will be the second 20 week abortion ban enacted in the last few weeks after Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a nearly identical bill last month. The move to enact a 20 week ban on abortion is an ongoing effort to erode and eventually eliminate the protections offered under Roe v. Wade.

Commenting on the legislation earlier this week, the ACLU of Kentucky condemned the legislature for attacking women’s constitutional rights. “The attempt to ban abortions at 20 weeks is cruel, dangerous, and poses a serious threat to women’s health,” said ACLU of Kentucky communications director Amber Duke.  She added, “Legislation like SB5 ignores women’s individual circumstances and denies them the dignity to make personal, private decisions. A woman should make decisions about abortion, adoption and pregnancy with those she trusts, not with politicians.”

Another attack on women’s rights (HB2) also passed the Kentucky legislature today forcing women to obtain an ultrasound before having an abortion.

While Republicans uneducated in the medicine argue forcing women to have an ultrasound offers them “more information” to help them make a decision before aborting a pregnancy, medical experts point out the intrusive, unnecessary nature of the forced procedure. Pre-abortion ultrasound laws literally force women to undergo a medical procedure against their will.

Following the vote today the ACLU of Kentucky released a second statement addressing both bills. ACLU of Kentucky Advocacy Director Kate Miller said:

“The passage today of 20 week abortion ban, Senate Bill 5 and mandated ultrasound bill, House Bill 2, were the culmination of a week where many members of the General Assembly worked at breakneck speed to severely restrict women’s reproductive rights. In floor speech after floor speech Saturday, lawmakers discussed the true intention of their support of the bills, which was simply banning abortion.  Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 2 are not about women’s health.  They represent nothing more than political intrusion in the most personal, private decisions.”

Not only do the bills lack exceptions for rape or incest (meaning victims of sexual violence will be forced to have their bodies violated as a second time before being limited on the timeframe they can obtain an abortion), but both bills were passed as ’emergency’ measures in order to make them effective immediately.

Both bills will become law immediately after Governor Bevin signs then into law.

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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  • The good news is that there are 49 other states if you are in Kentucky and you find yourself in that situation. Living in CA, I can drive for 12 hours and still be in the same state. Kentucky is much, much smaller. Being able to have the choice of multiple states and finding one with laws that works for your situation would seem to be a plus IMHO.

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