New restrictions on abortion in Kentucky face immediate challenge
Gov. Matt Bevin signed off Tuesday on House Bill 454, which bans a common procedure called dilation and evacuation starting at 11 weeks after fertilization, the only exception being for medical emergencies.
After the latest abortion bill cleared the state’s House and Senate in March, CNN affiliate WDRB in Louisville shared a statement from the governor: “HB 454 signifies Kentucky’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of unborn children. In a society that increasingly devalues human life, we must continue to unapologetically advance laws that will protect those who cannot protect themselves. With every pro-life bill that becomes law, we send the same message: Kentucky stands for life.”
D&E is a surgical procedure in which a woman’s cervix is dilated before suction is used to remove the fetus. It is a method that is “evidence-based and medically preferred,” according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Crim, who addressed the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee before the bill’s passage, says she’s tried repeatedly to appeal to the empathy of lawmakers. She’s spoken of the 16-year-old she met who threatened to induce her own abortion and of women who’ve googled how to force miscarriages.
Most recently, when Crim stood before the senate committee, she focused on the burden on Kentuckians, who she says will foot the bill for costly legal battles that will surely ensue. Instead of seeing their tax dollars used to improve schools, health care or infrastructure, the cash-strapped state is using that money — as well as time that could be spent elsewhere — in a fight to institute legislation that is not just unconstitutional, she says, but will probably be overturned in court.
“A state cannot pass laws that limit federal rights,” as outlined in the 14th Amendment, Crim says. “A state can’t say in ‘our state you have less rights than the rest of the country.’ “
“This law, here in the commonwealth, is about the humane treatment of an unborn child,” Wuchner said during debate on the House floor.
Calling the bill “further evidence of the coordinated effort by the Kentucky General Assembly to severely limit access to safe, legal abortions,” ACLU-KY Advocacy Director Kate Miller took lawmakers to task in a recent statement.
“Despite the claims of certain legislators, this bill is not about dignity,” she said. “It is about cutting off access to the most common method of second-trimester abortion. Legislators ignored the testimony of doctors that said this ban would put patient safety at risk.”
Six other states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas — have tried to pass similar D&E bans, only to have them blocked by courts once they were challenged.
CNN’s Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.
News credit : Cnn