Kentucky governor signs bill banning abortions on basis of race, sex, disability

Source: The Hill | March 20, 2019 | Morgan Gstalter

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Tuesday signed into law an anti-abortion measure that blocks women from ending their pregnancies due to the gender, race, or disability of the fetus.

The measure is already facing a federal lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which argues the state is blocking a woman’s right to the procedure because it “disapproves of her reason,” The Associated Press reported.

State law now requires doctors to certify in writing that their patient — to their knowledge — did not want to end her pregnancy over concern about child’s sex, race, color, national origin or disability.

Doctors that violate the law would risk losing their medical license or facing felony prosecution. Women receiving the procedure would not face penalties, AP noted.

The ACLU lawsuit was filed on behalf of the only abortion clinic in the stat — EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville.

Bevin’s legal team has filed a response to the lawsuit, calling it a “perverse distortion” of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

“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 legal team responded.

Supporters of the bill, including its lead sponsor Kentucky state Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty (R), say it prevents fetuses from being discriminated against because of their disability, gender or race.

Prunty said abortions in this cases are “reminiscent of the social evil of eugenics.”

The bill is one of two anti-abortion measures passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature that Bevin has signed into law this month.

The governor on Friday signed into law a fetal “heartbeat” law that would have banned abortions six weeks into pregnancy.

Shortly after Bevin signed the bill, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to block the law.

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