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Kentucky bill would make it a felony for doctors to abort babies with beating hearts

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FRANKFORT, Kentucky, December 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Yet another state is introducing legislation to ban the vast majority of abortions, as a pro-life lawmaker in Kentucky has introduced a heartbeat bill before the end of the year.

Republican state Rep. Robert Goforth has prefiled legislation requiring abortionists to check for a fetal heartbeat before aborting, the Glasgow Daily Times reports. If a heartbeat is found, committing the abortion would be a Class D felony except in cases of medical emergencies, which would also have to be documented.

Kentucky punishes Class D felonies with up to five years in prison, according to WAVE 3 News.

“My proposal recognizes that everyone has a right to life. My personal belief is that life begins at conception and ends at natural death,” Goforth explained. “A heartbeat proves that there’s life that deserves protection under law – if a heart is beating, a baby needs to be protected and given an opportunity to live.”

“My children were barely two pounds when they were born 11 weeks early. We spent 23 weeks in the hospital when they were born and there were babies born there even earlier than they were,” he continued. “They are children. We owe it to all children to stand up and fight for them. This is the most pro-life piece of the legislation that has ever been filed in the Kentucky Legislature.”

Pre-born babies’ hearts finish forming around seven or eight weeks into pregnancy, with heartbeats potentially detectable as early as five and a half weeks. Heartbeat laws represent a rightward shift in state pro-life policy efforts, and would prevent far more abortions than more common ultrasound laws or bans on late-term and dismemberment abortion techniques.

This year, similar heartbeat bills have passed the Ohio Legislature and been signed into law in Iowa, as well as being introduced in South Carolina this month. The Iowa law currently faces a Planned Parenthood-ACLU lawsuit and Republican Gov. John Kasich has threatened to veto the Ohio bill over fears of a similar lawsuit. Kasich’s incoming successor, Mike DeWine, is expected to sign it anyway next year.

Many legislators across the country say now is the time to welcome potential test cases that could finally overturn Roe v. Wade, citing President Donald Trump’s transformation of the Supreme Court with two judicial nominees. Those hopes have been complicated recently, however, by new Justice Brett Kavanaugh voting this week not to hear a case involving Medicaid funds going to Planned Parenthood.

Goforth’s bill is slated to be considered in the next session of the Kentucky General assembly, which starts on January 8. The lawmaker expects a legal challenge, but says such a fight would be worthwhile for helping bring about the “day our laws and our court system give unborn children the legal right to life that they deserve so they can grow and live happy and productive lives.”

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