Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Governor Bevin signs historic bills protecting the unborn
CONTACT: Richard Nelson (270) 271-2713
DATE: January 9, 2017

(Frankfort, Ky) On Saturday, Gov. Bevin signed two pro-life bills into law that will likely reduce the number of abortions in Kentucky. The first bill signed into law this legislative session—SB 5, also known as the Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act bans abortions after 20 weeks. The bill received widespread support based on scientific findings that unborn children at 20 weeks are susceptible to significant pain. The bill passed the state House on Saturday by a vote of 79-15.

Commonwealth Policy Center Executive Director Richard Nelson testified that the bill was humane legislation based on good science. "Medical experts tell us that the unborn feel pain around 20 weeks in utero. According to one medical expert, an unborn baby's experience of pain may actually be heightened between weeks 20 and 30," Nelson said. "This is because the baby at this stage has more pain receptors per square inch than at any other time before or after birth."

The Ultrasound Bill was also signed into law on Saturday. HB 2 requires abortionists to provide an ultrasound picture of the unborn child at least 24-hours before an abortion. Proponents testified that women seeking abortion have systematically been denied critical information from abortionists. The Kentucky ACLU and Planned Parenthood held a rally in opposition to the bill. Both groups said it was unnecessary and would further humiliate women.

"To say that women are better off with less medical information when making one of the most important decisions in their lives is absurd. It is also patronizing,"  Nelson told the House Health and Family Services Committee. "Opposition to this bill implies that the woman cannot handle the ultrasound information about her unborn child." The bill, which has been introduced nearly every year since 2005, passed the House for the first time by a vote of 83-12. It passed the Senate by a  32-5 margin.

Kentucky joins 25 other states that have similar laws mandating that abortionists provide ultrasounds to women in their care. An additional 15 states have abortion bans at 20-weeks.