A federal judge temporarily blocked Kentucky’s new law banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected – usually six or seven weeks into a pregnancy.
Hours after Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed the bill into law Friday, the ACLU filed a legal challenge and Judge David J. Hale of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky issued a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the law.
BREAKING: A Judge has granted our request for immediate, emergency relief, temporarily blocking 6-week abortion ban #SB9 from being enforced https://t.co/NeaL1avlqc #SB9 #kyga19 #stopthebans pic.twitter.com/NFjkijfQaE
— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) March 16, 2019
“This onslaught of bans on abortion that fly in the face of Roe v. Wade are designed specifically for the purposes of trying to get the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe,” said ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Bevin has signed into law a series of bills aimed at restricting abortion in his state. The ACLU has filed four lawsuits against pro-life legislation passed in the Bluegrass State – the most against any state with regard to abortion.
The Kentucky law would prohibit most abortions once the fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in a case in which the mother’s life is in danger.
According to the AP report, ACLU attorneys said the Kentucky heartbeat abortion law would block 90 percent of abortions in the state.
“If the six-week ban takes effect, the consequences will be devastating,” Amiri said.
Unless a court blocks these bills, abortion will effectively be banned in the state. https://t.co/ObrnX8Nldh
— ACLU (@ACLU) March 16, 2019
According to the New York Times, Steve Pitt, general counsel to the governor, said the abortion industry and its advocates are showing signs of desperation.
“This case or others like it from other states will result in major changes in abortions in the U.S. in the near future,” he said. “The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and others favoring unlimited abortions know this and are in a panic.”
A Marist poll released in February revealed recent legislation in Democrat-led states that makes abortion a fundamental right and allows the procedure even moments before birth has led to a “sudden and dramatic shift” toward the pro-life position.
The poll found a double-digit shift, with Americans now as likely to identify as pro-life (47 percent) as pro-choice (47 percent) since a similar Marist poll conducted in January. In addition, pro-life Democrats alone have shifted from 20 to 34 percent, an outcome that shows more than one-third of Democrats now identify as pro-life.
“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho said about the results, adding:
The recent legal changes to late-term abortion and the debate which followed have not gone unnoticed by the general public…there has been a significant increase in the proportion of Americans who see themselves as pro-life and an equally notable decline in those who describe themselves as pro-choice.
The ACLU is also challenging another new Kentucky measure that would ban abortions sought because the gender, race, or disability of the unborn baby is undesirable. Bevin took to Twitter, however, to point out he had yet to sign that bill into law:
We realize the @ACLU is eager to attack a KY bill protecting unborn children from being killed on the basis of race, gender, or disability…
But maybe they should have waited to file their legal challenge until AFTER HB 5 is actually signed into LAW…? https://t.co/XqOYRfD7at
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) March 16, 2019
Bevin has welcomed the legal challenges to his pro-life legislation.
In an op-ed Monday at the Richmond Register, the governor called out the abortion rights advocates who championed the New York abortion law and similar measures in Virginia and other states. Bevin said these abortion proponents “have dropped the pretense of ‘safe, legal and rare’” abortion, and have made clear their real agenda is the “mass murder of innocent babies.”
Bevin condemned those “applauding infanticide and playing word games by calling murder a ‘choice’” as they make the claim such acts are the marks of “courageous” women.
“On the contrary, standing up for life, with the current state of our culture and against the countless millions of lobbying dollars from leftists, is a display of true courage,” Bevin wrote. “As long as the Bevin administration exists, we will fight with all of our intellect, our talent, and our heart to defend the innocent. We will fight for life.”