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Kentucky Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (SB 9)

This law was last updated on Sep 20, 2019

This law is Anti–Choice




SB 9




Jan 8, 2019


Co-sponsors: 18
Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 19


Heartbeat Bans, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers

Full Bill Text

SB 9 would make it a felony to perform or induce an abortion when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many even realize that they are pregnant. 

Prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion, the bill would require an abortion provider to determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat. The person who performs the examination for the presence of a fetal heartbeat would be required to offer the pregnant person the option to view or hear the fetal heartbeat.

The bill allows for the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to enact regulations specifying the appropriate methods of performing an examination for the purpose of determining a fetal heartbeat. Such regulations may only require that an examination be performed externally.

This would not apply to a physician who performs or induces an abortion if the physician believes that a medical emergency exists. If such a medical emergency exists, the physician would be required to note the condition in the pregnant person’s medical record.

Heartbeat Ban

The bill would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

This would not apply to a physician who performs a medical procedure that is designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant person or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person.

Any person who performs an abortion in violation of any of the provisions of this law would be guilty of a Class D felony.

The bill provides that a pregnant person who receives an abortion in violation of any of the provisions of this law may not be criminally prosecuted or subject to a civil or criminal penalty.

Clinic Inspections

A person who performs or induces an abortion on a pregnant person would be required to document the reasons in the patient’s medical records.

The bill would require the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to inspect the medical records from any facility that performs abortions to ensure that the physicians or other persons who perform abortions at that facility are in compliance with the reporting requirements. Failure to comply with reporting requirements could lead to the suspension of a provider’s license to practice medicine.

Roe v. Wade

The bill provides that in the case of an overruling of Roe v. Wade, or any other court order or judgment restoring, expanding, or clarifying the authority of states to prohibit or regulate abortion entirely or in part, the attorney general may apply to the pertinent state or federal court for either or both of the following:

  • A declaration that any one or more sections specified in this law are constitutional;
  • A judgment or order lifting an injunction against the enforcement of any one or more sections specified in this law.

If the attorney general fails to apply for the relief within 30 days of Roe v. Wade being overruled, any county prosecutor would be able to apply to the appropriate state or federal court for such relief.

Related Legislation

Similar to HB 100.

Latest Action

1/8/19 – Introduced; referred to Veterans, Military Affairs, & Public Protection Committee.

2/14/19 – Passed the Senate by a 31-6 vote.

2/27/19 – Passed the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee by a 12-3 vote.

3/14/19 – Passed the House by a 71-19 vote.

3/15/19 – Signed by Gov. Matt Bevin (R).

3/15/19 – Temporarily blocked in federal court (see EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Beshear)


Legal Cases