Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

At a committee hearing for Kentucky's SB2, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks. (Photo: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky/Facebook)

GOP-Controlled Kentucky Legislature Moves Fast on Anti-Choice Bills

ACLU of Kentucky the legislative session appears to be 'off to a fast start for folks working to limit reproductive freedom'

Deirdre Fulton

On the same day that they assumed total control of the state legislature for the first time in nearly a century, Kentucky Republicans introduced and fast-tracked new abortion restrictions that they hope to pass by week's end.

One bill, SB5, would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and passed out of committee late Wednesday afternoon. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a similar restriction into law last month. Speaking of the bill on Tuesday, Kentucky Senate president Robert Stivers—who said he'd like to ban abortion even earlier than 20 weeks—claimed women have a "choice" of whether to conceive a child and "the legislature has its ability to determine" the course of a pregnancy after that.

"This is my belief: there are two viable beings involved," he said. "One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not. Once conception starts, another life is involved, and the legislature has the ability to determine how that life proceeds."

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that Stivers said SB5 "could get a vote on the Senate floor this week," while newly elected state House Speaker Jeff Hoover said there would be "overwhelming support" for the bill in his chamber.

Another measure, HB2, requiring doctors to show women seeking an abortion an ultrasound image of their fetus before the procedure takes place, was passed out of committee 14-5 on Wednesday afternoon. According to the ACLU of Kentucky, opponents of the bill were allowed to testify only "after audience protest"—and then with limited time. 

When a version of the legislation passed the state Senate last year, Tamarra Wieder, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, told Rewire: "This bill really interferes with the doctor-patient relationship by allowing politicians to determine medical practices over the wishes of the provider and patient. It also creates complications and barriers for providers. A lot of providers are only in the clinic for one day a week or two days a week for the procedure, not ultrasounds."

Derek Selznick, the Reproductive Freedom Project director for the ACLU  of Kentucky, noted to the Courier-Journal at the time that an identical bill from North Carolina had been struck down by federal courts in 2015—a ruling was allowed to stand by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"This is not informed consent," Selznick said last February, "this is about politicians trying to bully, shame and humiliate women who have already made their personal and often heart-wrenching decision to end their pregnancy."

The Hill reports that a third piece of proposed legislation in Kentucky would block public funding of organizations that perform abortions such as Planned Parenthood, despite a recent federal order that forbids states from doing just that. Texas moved to do the same late last month.

Referring to SB5 and HB2, Amber Duke, communications director for the ACLU of Kentucky, said: "It's unfortunate after weeks of lawmakers promising business would be their top priority and social issues wouldn't be on the front burner that within hours of gaveling in we see two anti-abortion bills that seem to be on the fast track."

As the group wrote on Twitter, the legislative session appears to be "off to a fast start for folks working to limit reproductive freedom."

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky are planning a rally for 1 pm Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda to protest the anti-abortion bills. Follow @ACLUofKY and @PPAdvocatesINKY for updates.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Rapid Shift to Electric Vehicles Could Create Over 150,000 Jobs in US by 2030

A new report says "smart" pro-labor policies by lawmakers would transform the "inevitable" shift to EVs "into a new beginning for U.S. producers and the rebuilding of a foundation for good jobs."

Kenny Stancil ·

WHO's New Air Pollution Guidelines Reflect Deadly Toll of Fossil Fuels

"What matters most is whether governments implement impactful policies to reduce pollutant emissions, such as ending investments in coal, oil, and gas and prioritizing the transition to clean energy," said a Greenpeace scientist.

Jessica Corbett ·

Baby Poop Has Ten Times More Microplastic in It Than Adult Poop: Study

"The future is going to wonder what on earth we thought we were doing with plastic."

Andrea Germanos ·

Letter Urges Progressives to Fight 'Wall Street Democrats' Holding Biden's Agenda Hostage

"The United States does not negotiate with terrorists. It's time for the Congressional Progressive Caucus to extend that principle to the legislative process."

Jake Johnson ·

Health Experts 'Speechless' as DeSantis Taps Anti-Mask Vaccine Skeptic for Florida Surgeon General

One Democratic U.S. congressman called the move "a complete slap in the face to the families of the more than 50,000 Floridians who have died from Covid."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo