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High Profile Abortion, Gun Bills On Track To Hit Governor's Desk

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Polarizing bills placing new restrictions on abortion and removing others on firearms both moved one step closer to final passage Wednesday.

"Ladies and gentlemen of this committee, what you're hearing is a child's heartbeat. That heartbeat is an individual inside of her mother's womb, saying 'I'm alive,'" Republican Senator Matt Castlen said, with a microphone held to a pregnant woman's belly.

Senate Bill 9 — outlawing nearly all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, often around six weeks — easily cleared a House committee. Lawmakers heard from a woman who testified as an abortion survivor and a man who said the state's 20-week abortion ban disrupted his wife's care after a fetal abnormality diagnosis at 18 1/2 weeks.

While backers argue the heartbeat is an important milestone, Kate Miller with the ACLU of Kentucky says using it as a marker ignores many complications of pregnancy.

"This ban is basically a full ban on all abortions, except for very, very limited circumstances related to the health of the mom," she says.

Lawmakers also advanced Senate Bill 150, allowing Kentuckians age 21 and over to carry concealed deadly weapons without a permit, sometimes called constitutional carry.

That measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, is also on its way to the House.

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