A Kentucky legislator introduced a bill to ban doctors from aborting babies with detectable heartbeats, according to The Hill. Physicians who violate the proposed ban could be charged with a Class D felony and face up to five years in prison.
The measure would require doctors to examine unborn children for a heartbeat before performing abortions. If a fetus presents a heartbeat, a physician could only proceed with the abortion to avert a medical emergency.
Kentucky state representative Robert Goforth (R) prefiled the bill earlier in December for Kentucky’s 2019 legislative session.
“My proposal recognizes that everyone has a right to life,” Goforth explained. “My personal belief is that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. 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.”
Goforth noted that his bill represents a landmark in the history of Kentucky’s pro-life movement. “This is the most pro-life piece of legislation that has ever been filed in the Kentucky Legislature,” he said. Goforth recognizes that the measure may face judicial hurdles if it becomes law, but nevertheless deems his efforts worthwhile.
“I look forward to 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,” he stated.
January 8th marks the start of the Kentucky General Assembly’s next session, during which legislators will consider Goforth’s bill.
Ohio and Iowa have already debated similar heartbeat legislation this year. In both states, the measures have not yet arrived at the governor’s desk.