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The Latest: Kentucky Senate passes fetal heartbeat bill

February 14, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on lawmakers advancing a bill to ban most abortions in Kentucky once a fetal heartbeat is detected. (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The Republican-led chamber’s 31-6 vote on Thursday came a few hours after the measure cleared a committee. The bill now goes to the state House, which is also run by Republicans.

Kentucky is among several states where lawmakers are considering fetal heartbeat bills. Conservative legislatures are pushing increasingly strict anti-abortion laws in an effort to trigger a legal challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a nationwide right to abortion.

The bill’s opponents in Kentucky predicted that enactment of the fetal heartbeat measure would result in a certain legal challenge.

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11:25 a.m.

After hearing the beating heart of a fetus, Kentucky lawmakers advanced a bill to ban most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Before a Senate committee approved the bill Thursday, a woman came forward and allowed the audience to hear her unborn son’s heartbeat through an electronic monitor.

The woman, April Lanham, is a constituent of Sen. Matt Castlen, the bill’s lead sponsor. Lanham said afterward she came forward because her unborn baby’s heartbeat would be a “powerful noise” for lawmakers to hear before the vote.

Kentucky is among several states with pending bills to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

ACLU executive Kate Miller told lawmakers Kentucky’s bill would be challenged in court if it becomes law.