Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signs bill banning abortion based on sex, race or disability

Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. | Photo: Facebook

Aborting a fetus due to her race, gender or disability is now illegal in Kentucky. 

In a move state lawyers have defended as a fight against “eugenics,” outspoken pro-life advocate and Kentucky’s evangelical Christian Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill, HB 5, into law Tuesday immediately banning abortion based on sex, race or disability.

The move comes just days after a federal judge, David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky, temporarily blocked another measure Bevin signed into law on Friday, that prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected which usually occurs around six weeks. That law was expected to take effect immediately. But late Friday, Hale ruled it was potentially unconstitutional and delayed enforcement for at least 14 days to “prevent irreparable harm” until he could hold a hearing, The New York Times said.

Less than 24 hours after HB 5 was passed last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to block it, the Courier Journal reported.

The ACLU’s lawsuit argues that banning abortion based on sex, race or disability infringes on a woman's right to an abortion by imposing restrictions on her reasons for doing so.

Bevin’s general counsel M. Stephen Pitt, argued in a filing in U.S. District Court in Louisville on Tuesday that the law bans "eugenics-based abortions."

“In Plaintiffs’ view, somewhere in the Fourteenth Amendment’s penumbra lies a protection for eugenics,” he wrote. “This is a perverse distortion of Roe v. Wade … and its progeny.”

On Monday the ACLU had asked the court to order Bevin to notify the organization when he signed HB 5, saying that “instituting laws that instantly affect critical patient care should not be a cat-and-mouse game.” Pitt noted in his filing that the bill was signed into law by Bevin on Tuesday.

In a video message Friday, Bevin scolded his “good friends at the ACLU” for challenging HB 5, before it had been signed into law and suggested they needed a civics refresher from “Schoolhouse Rock” on how legislation works.

“Yesterday our good friends at the ACLU, and I say good friends in the broadest sense of that word, have chosen to sue the Commonwealth of Kentucky over the passage of House Bill 5. And by passage I mean it moved through the legislature, the House and the Senate in overwhelming fashion, Democrat and Republican alike, and it makes good sense that it did,” he said.

“House Bill 5, simply says that in Kentucky we think it’s inappropriate to kill an unborn child simply because of its race, or of the child’s gender or of a perceived disability. But too much to ask for the folks at the ACLU. They would pretend to speak for what is appropriate in America from a jurisprudence standpoint, from a civic standpoint. The people that are supposedly defending the civic rights of people in this country, nonetheless think it’s appropriate that you can kill a child based on its race, or kill a child based on its gender. The people of Kentucky again fortunately don’t agree with that and so this law was passed through the legislature,” Bevin added.

Bevin, who has made pro-life legislation a priority of his administration, recently decried laws in New York expanding abortion protections as well as a similar proposal in Virginia.

“The effectiveness of our pro-life laws and of my administration’s legal team was made evident in recent weeks when Planned Parenthood and other hard left, pro-abortion groups announced their intent to pool their ample economic and legal resources to fight against Kentucky babies. Those groups are bringing $90 million into our state, along with additional armies of liberal lawyers to try to tear down Kentucky laws protecting life,” Bevin wrote in a Kentucky Today op-ed just over a week ago. “As we ponder the heinous nature of the New York law and the bill that was shamelessly proposed in Virginia, Kentuckians must realize that pro-abortion radicals are even suing for the right to dismember a third trimester baby.”

As Bevin was threatened with the ACLU’s recent lawsuit on Wednesday he responded in a tweet: “Bring it! Kentucky will always fight for life... Always!”

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