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Kentucky Lawmakers Predict 'Watershed Year' For Abortion Opponents

Josh James

Republican leaders in Kentucky are vowing 2019 will be a "watershed year" for the anti-abortion movement in the commonwealth. The comments came at a Kentucky Right To Life Rally in the Capitol Thursday.

"Someone asked me how many of these pro-life bills are we going to pass," Republican Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer told the audience. "My response: All of them."

Those bills range from Senate Bill 9, outlawing abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, often around 6 weeks, to House Bill 5, which bans abortions based on sex, race, national origin, or disability. At Thursday's rally, Governor Matt Bevin said it's time to unite and push them forward.

"The fabric of America is made up of many threads. We need every one of them — demographically, economically, morally, spiritually. We have have got to protect life at every turn," the Republican said.

The surge of interest in new abortion restrictions comes as supporters see signs of hope in an increasingly right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court under President Donald Trump.

And Tamarra Wieder with Planned Parenthood says the state isn't alone.

"Kentucky is racing to the finish line to be the first in the nation to end Roe v. Wade and they have several other states that are with them in this race," she said.

The rhetoric surrounding the debate is also drawing fire. Thursday, members of the Kentucky Legislative Black Caucus and the Women's House Democratic Caucus held a press conference calling for an end to frequently heard comparisons of abortion to lynching, slavery, and the Holocaust.

"This type of language poisons the democratic well and has made it all but impossible for many others and me to work with some legislators on other issues because of their unyielding stance," said Democratic House member Attica Scott.

Four working days remain in the 30-day session.

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