By Dave Andrusko
As anticipated, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has signed House Bill 5 into law. The measure, which bans abortions because of a child’s sex, race, or a disability such as Down syndrome, includes an emergency clause, meaning HB 5 went into effect immediately upon Gov. Bevin signing the bill on Tuesday. HB 5 overwhelmingly passed in both chambers: 32-4 in the Senate and 67-25 in the House.
Also, as anticipated, the ACLU filed a challenge days before Bevin even signed the law in anticipation he would.
According to the Associated Press, the ACLU argued
that the law removes a woman’s right to an abortion if the state “disapproves of her reason” for the procedure. The suit was filed on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, the only abortion clinic in Kentucky.
The Bevin administration indicated it plans to aggressively defend the abortion laws, the AP reported. “Consistent protection of the lives of unborn children is an interest of the highest magnitude of the commonwealth,” general counsel M. Stephen Pitt wrote.
Referring to plaintiff EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Gov. Bevin’s legal team responded: “EMW and its abortionists have responded with a novel claim: Women have a constitutional right to undergo race-based abortions, gender-based abortions, and disability-based abortions. In (the) plaintiffs’ view, somewhere in the Fourteenth Amendment’s penumbra lies a secret protection of eugenics.” The called the ACLU argument a “perverse distortion” of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Last week, after passage and before the ACLU challenge, Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Deborah Yetter quoted Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty who “I’m thrilled that it passed out and will go to the governor for his signature.
Prunty, who described HB 5 as an anti-discrimination bill to protect rights of unborn children, said she was disappointed the ACLU plans to challenge it.
“I think they should be on our side if they are against discrimination,” she said.
Prunty has called the bill a “common sense” measure to ban discrimination against fetuses because of race, gender or disability, calling abortion in such cases “reminiscent of the social evil of eugenics,” a belief that the human race can be improved through controlled breeding.
There is much good news coming out of Kentucky, including (according to Yetter) that Sen. Whitney Westerfield has introduced a bill modeled after the federal “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” which pro-abortion Democrats were able to prevent from coming to a vote on February 25.