Lexington, Ky., Mar 18, 2019 / 11:30 am
A judge blocked a Kentucky law that would prohibit abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, in the latest setback in efforts to expand abortion restrictions in the United States.
Federal Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky ruled on March 16 that Kentucky's newly-signed law to ban abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy may be unconstitutional, and delayed its enforcement for the next two weeks.
The bill was signed into law earlier that day by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, and was supposed to go into effect upon signing. The ACLU and other groups had pledged to immediately challenge the law.
Other states' attempts to pass "heartbeat bills" that ban abortion following the detection of a fetal heartbeat have run into similar judicial hurdles. Due to the existing legal precedent of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which found that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion, legislation that restricts abortion prior to fetal viability is generally found to be unconstitutional.