Justifying his support for a 20-week ban on abortions, the Republican president of the Kentucky Senate asserted that women had the “choice” of whether to conceive a child and “the legislature has its ability to determine” the course of a pregnancy after that.
According to a report from the Lexington Herald Leader, Senate President Robert Stivers (R) said Tuesday afternoon that he would have preferred a ban on abortions even earlier than 20 weeks.
“This is my belief: there are two viable beings involved,” he said, as quoted by the Herald Leader. “One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not. Once conception starts, another life is involved, and the legislature has the ability to determine how that life proceeds.”
Viability may vary among pregnancies, but it is generally understood to be between 24 and 28 weeks.
Stivers also acknowledged to the publication that similar 20-week abortion bans had not passed the state’s legislature in years past, when Democrats controlled the state House of Representatives. The incoming state House of Representatives in Kentucky is Republican-controlled.
“I think we are very well aware of the issues as it relates to this bill and are ready and willing to proceed with this bill,” he said.
Stivers told the Courier Journal that he expected the ban to pass in the Senate this week.
The bill includes exceptions for instances in which the mother’s life is in danger, as well as rape and incest, according to its sponsor state Sen. Brandon Smith (R). A separate proposal filed this week in the Kentucky House would require women to be presented with an ultrasound before having an abortion. House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R) told the Courier Journal there is “overwhelming sentiment” to pass that bill in the House.