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Kentucky Senate passes bill banning abortions after 15 weeks

Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky lawmakers have taken another step toward banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill won Senate passage Wednesday with lawmakers casting an eye toward a looming U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion rights. Karyn Czar reports from Frankfort.

With little debate, SB 321 passed 31-6 on Wednesday. The bill is modeled after a Mississippi law under review by the Supreme Court in a case that could dramatically limit abortion rights. Opponents like Democrat Senator Morgan McGarvey say the legislation isn’t needed because abortions are already banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Kentucky.

“I vote no on this measure.” McGarvey said, “There are already similar laws that place this on the books. More importantly this is something that should be left up to the Supreme Court or most importantly something that should be left up to a woman and her physician.”

But supporters like Republican Senator Johnnie Turner call the bill a preemptive action that would be immediately enforceable if the Mississippi law is upheld.

“I vote aye. I think this will be the most important bill that I will probably vote while I’m down here this session and maybe while I’m down here as a Senator. It’s life or death.” Turner concluded, “And I’m for life.”

The Kentucky measure advances next to the House where like the Senate, Republicans hold the majority.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.