Kentucky Republicans introduced a slew of bills on Thursday, all of which were aimed at further restricting abortion access in the Bluegrass State.
The centerpiece of the package is Senate Bill 9, the Republican plan to ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can be heard as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Similar bills have cropped up in state legislatures across the nation, as conservatives have been doing all they can to limit abortion via legislation to the extent that it effectively ceases to be an option for women.
Three other bills were trotted out along with S.B. 9, all with similar goals. One would ban abortions in the state in the event that the Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade. Another would ban abortions that were the product of race, gender, or “perceived disability,” per the Lexington Herald-Leader. And the third would require doctors to report all abortion drug prescriptions to the state, which would then report how many prescriptions were written without identifying patients or doctors. (That bill passed the Kentucky Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection on Thursday.)
The bills were rolled out during a press conference featuring 25 members of the General Assembly that have signed onto the bill, including a handful of Democrats. The press conference was attended by Gov. Matt Bevin, who received a standing ovation from the Pro-Life Caucus, according to WDRB. Of the 38 members of the state Senate, 19 have signed on to support S.B. 9, per WFPL. Sen. Joseph Fischer, a 20-year member of the General Assembly and the chair of the Judiciary Committee, was among those to issue his support of the bills at the press conference.
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“We know that God will dispense his justice and secure this inalienable gift of life for all Kentucky children,” Fischer said, per the Herald-Leader. “We just don’t know the day or the hour. But we must be prepared for the time of deliverance.”
This would be a great time to mention that the fight over abortion has, to this point, been all but won by Kentucky conservatives. There is currently just one abortion clinic in the entire state, in Louisville, and even that location has been under constant attack by Kentucky Republicans. Last year, the GOP-dominated legislature passed a bill that required the clinic to have a written agreement with a hospital to provide emergency services; that bill was mercifully struck down by a federal judge in September, per the Louisville Courier-Journal. The same month, a federal judge struck down a Kentucky law that required women to be shown an ultrasound of the fetus before going through with an abortion.
Until more federal protections are put in place—or until the absolute worst timeline comes to pass and Ruth Bader Ginsburg has to step down from the bench, to be replaced by a conservative judge who provides the final blow to Roe v. Wade—this pattern of horrific state laws being passed only to be struck down by federal judges seems destined to repeat itself.
Great country we got here.