For the first time in nearly a century, the GOP has complete control over the state government of Kentucky and they’ve wasted no time in stripping women of their right to make their own medical decisions.
The Courier-Journal has reported that implementing restrictions on abortion is one of the top priorities of the GOP. A Senate bill aims to ban abortion after 20 weeks. State Senate President Robert Stivers told reporters that a woman’s only choice is ” to conceive or not conceive.”
‘But once conception starts, there becomes another life involved. And the legislature has its ability to control how that life may proceed or how it would be terminated.’
Stivers said that he expects the bill to pass the Senate later this week. House Speaker Jeff Hoover said that he believed the bill would easily pass in the House as well.
Brandon Smith is the sponsor of the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks. He says the bill is based on the fact that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks However, the evidence does not back up those claims. According to the Jama Network, fetishes do not feel pain at 20 weeks.
‘ Evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.’
In addition to the 20-week ban, the House also proposed a measure that would require any woman seeking an abortion to first submit to an ultrasound. Hoover said that he expects the ultrasound bill to pass the House later this week.
Of course, not everyone agrees with the GOP’ agenda to restrict abortion rights. The ACLU’s Amber Duke called the incoming bills “unfortunate.”
‘It’s unfortunate after weeks of lawmakers promising business would be their top priority and social issues wouldn’t be on the front burner that within hours of gaveling in we see two anti-abortion bills that seem to be on the fast track.’
The ACLU opposed both bills, but Duke said they were particularly worried about the one banning abortions after 20 weeks due to the fact that they make blanket statements regarding women’s health.
‘Legislation about bans like this pose a serious threat because they ignore women’s health needs in individual circumstances.We believe that women deserve dignity and should have the right to make personal and private medical decisions without interference from politicians.’
However, it isn’t just abortion rights that the GOP is going after. They are also taking aim at labor unions and the rights of workers. The GOP is pushing a “Right to work” bill which would ban union or the payment of union dues as a condition for employment.
Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, said the bill would harm Kentucky workers by driving down wages.
‘They are pursuing a policy to penalize unions. It’s a low road to economic development that will actually end up costing all Kentucky workers in the form of lower wages.’
Additionally, the Senate is considering a bill which would repeal the current requirement that construction workers be paid according to the prevailing regional wage on public projects.
Hoover said the two labor bill were necessary to increase economic growth, but the lower wages may end up hurting a lot of working people.
Featured image via Getty Images.