UPDATE: Senate Panel Advances 20-week Abortion Ban Bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Latest on legislative action in Kentucky on abortion bills (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

A Senate panel has given quick approval to legislation aimed at banning abortions in Kentucky after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill sailed through the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee on Wednesday with solid Republican support. It was opposed by three of the panel’s Democrats.

Supporters say the bill is based on the assertion that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. Opponents to similar bills elsewhere have characterized that as scientifically unsound.

Sen. Brandon Smith of Hazard says his bill would make exceptions to the 20-week abortion ban when the mother’s life is in danger. But he says it does not include exceptions in cases of rape and incest, contrary to how the bill was characterized Tuesday when introduced.

The measure now heads to the full Senate.


2:50 p.m.

A bill requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds prior to abortions has cleared a Kentucky House committee over objections from abortion-rights advocates.

The measure advanced Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee is a sign of the new political clout by House Republicans. Similar measures stalled when Democrats ran the House.

The bill now goes to the full House, now controlled by Republicans.

The measure would require doctors to display ultrasound images so the pregnant woman may view them. The woman could avert her eyes from the images without risk of penalty.

The hearing included tense exchanges between abortion-rights advocates and lawmakers supporting the measure. Critics said the bill would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.

Legislative Republicans are pushing abortion legislation in the first week of this year’s session.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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