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15-week abortion ban passes Kentucky Senate, protest breaks out in capitol

Abortion-rights protesters chanted “abortion is health care” before being cleared from the Senate.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Abortion opponents added a proposed 15-week abortion ban to a bill regulating the dispensing of abortion pills, as Kentucky's legislature moved closer Tuesday to imposing its latest round of restrictions on the procedure.

The anti-abortion measure won Senate passage after a tense debate. Abortion-rights protesters chanted “abortion is health care” before being cleared from the Senate gallery. The bill returned to the House for a potential final vote.

The proposal banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is modeled after a Mississippi law under review by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could dramatically limit abortion rights.

The 15-week abortion ban had been a stand-alone bill but Kentucky senators inserted it into the broader measure regulating abortion. The maneuver came as GOP lawmakers push to finish work on priority bills before starting an extended break this week.

Kentucky law currently bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

By taking preemptive action, Kentucky’s stricter ban would be in place if the Mississippi law is upheld by the nation's high court, said Republican Sen. Max Wise.

Opponents said the bill's restrictions were so onerous that no abortion clinic could comply.

“The walls are closing in on safe and legal abortion care in the commonwealth," said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky state director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates.

With the amendment added in the Senate, the bill will go back to the House for concurrence before heading to Gov. Andy Beshear.


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