Bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy clears Senate committee

01/04/2017 09:28 PM

FRANKFORT – Senate Bill 5, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy, was passed by the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection committee on Wednesday with a 11-3 vote with Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, being the lone Democrat to vote yes on the legislation.

Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, the sponsor of Senate Bill 5 says that the main reason for the bill was evidence that fetuses which have been in the womb for 20 weeks, feel pain.

Research on the subject differs from Smith’s assertion. According to Fact Check available evidence published by the University of California shows research on fetal pain is limited, but indicated the perception of fetal pain is unlikely before the third trimester — beginning 27 to 28 weeks from conception.

Some research suggest pain receptors do not form until 23 to 30 weeks of gestational age.

During the Senate committee vote, Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, after casting a no vote, expressed concern about nothing being in the bill allowing for an abortion in the case of rape or incest.

Smith told Pure Politics on Tuesday that provisions were in place in the case of rape and incest, but acknowledged Wednesday after the meeting that he could not find that in his legislation.

The only provision allowing for an abortion after 20 weeks is if the health of the mother is at risk. SB5 moves on the Senate floor for consideration, where the full Senate could call for a vote by Thursday.

Anchor and managing editor Nick Storm contributed to this report.


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