Kentucky Bill Would Outlaw Abortion if Fetal Heartbeat Detected

A bill that would prohibit an abortion if a fetal heartbeat was detected advanced out of the state Senate Thursday by a 31-6 vote.

Senate Bill 9 sponsor, Sen. Matt Castlen, asked everyone in the chamber to place two fingers on their wrist.

“What do you feel?,” said Castlen (R-Owensboro). “You feel your pulse. That’s a sign your heart is beating. It is undeniable that a heartbeat stirs life.”

He said another provision of SB 9 would provide exceptions for medical emergencies. Language in SB 9 also specifically states the measure would not restrict access to contraceptives.

Sen. Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville) explained why she voted against SB 9.

“This bill has been declared unconstitutional (in another state) and it is going to cost Kentucky hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she said in reference to anticipated court challenges. “Each year we cut education. We have our opioid crisis. We have our pension crisis. We have 10,000 children in foster care ... so I’m wondering why we are spending scarce resources defending a clearly unconstitutional bill?”

Senate President Robert Stivers II (R-Manchester) voted for SB 9 before addressing some of the criticism of the measure. He said the U.S. Supreme Court could reverse precedence, and it’s well beyond the chamber’s ability to try to prognosticate.

Sen. Stephen Meredith (R-Leitchfield) also explained his “yes” vote.

“A lot of people say men shouldn’t make these decisions,” he said. “I represent women in my district. I ran as a pro-life candidate. I speak for them, just like I speak for my wife today.”

SB 9 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

From the Legislative Research Commission