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Kentucky 20-Week Abortion Ban (SB 5)

This law was last updated on Jul 5, 2017

This law is Anti–Choice




SB 5




Jan 3, 2017


Co-sponsors: 14
Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 15


20-Week Bans, Reporting Requirements

Full Bill Text

SB 5 would prohibit a person from performing or inducing or intentionally attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant patient when the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or greater, except in the case of a medical emergency. The bill does not include an exception for cases of rape or incest.

The bill includes legislative findings based on junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.

If an abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant patient or to avoid a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant patient, the physician would need to comply with all of the following conditions:

  • Certify in writing that, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, the abortion is necessary;
  • Have a second physician certify in writing that the original physicians medical judgment is correct;
  • Perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce the abortion in a hospital or other health-care facility that has appropriate neonatal services for premature infants;
  • Attempt to terminate the pregnancy in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive, unless that physician determines, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, that the termination of the pregnancy in that manner poses a greater risk of death of the pregnant woman or a greater risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman than would other available methods of abortion;
  • Certify in writing the available method or techniques considered and the reasons for choosing the method or technique; and
  • Arrange for the attendance in the same room in which the abortion is to be performed or induced or attempted to be performed or induced at least one other physician who is to take control of, provide immediate medical care for, and take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the life and health of the “unborn child” immediately upon the child’s complete expulsion or extraction from the pregnant patient.

Any physician who violates this provision, would have their medical license revoked, and may be held liable in a civil action.

A violation of the provision would be a Class D felony.

The bill would allow any pregnant patient or “father of the unborn child” to commence civil action against any person who intentionally violates this provision.

Probable Post-Fertilization Age

Except in a medical emergency, the bill would require a physician to first determine the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus prior to any abortion procedure. No physician may perform an abortion on a pregnant patient without first entering the determination made above and the associated findings of the medical examination and tests in the medical record of the pregnant patient. Failure to comply with this requirement would result in a suspended medical license for at least six months.

A violation of the provision would be a Class B misdemeanor.

“Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Fund”

The bill would create the Kentucky “pain-capable unborn child” protection litigation fund as a trust fund. The trust fund would consist of appropriations, donations, gifts, or grants made to the fund and would be used by the state to pay for any costs or expenses incurred by the state in relation to actions surrounding the defense of Sections 1 to 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of this Act. Funds would be distributed as directed by the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Reporting Requirements

The bill would require the Vital Statistics Branch to issue a public report providing statistics compiled from all the reports provided by physicians by September 30 of each year.

Related Legislation

Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.

Similar to HB 215, HB 393, and SB 57, all of which failed to pass in previous sessions.


Passed and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

The law will take effect immediately.