FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – A second pro-life bill is on its way to the governor’s desk after winning final approval in the House during a rare Saturday session.
Senate Bill 9, known as the “Born Alive bill, is sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, said this would cover a child born alive under any circumstance.
Earlier in the day, House Bill 2, a measure that would allow the Kentucky Attorney General to pursue civil and criminal charges against abortion providers who violate state law, gained final approval.
“Whether it’s an abortion that didn’t work, or a premature birth, or whatever the circumstance might be,” he said, “If a child is born alive, it must be given medical care consistent with whatever it’s needs are. This doesn’t change the standard of care, it doesn’t establish what that care must be, because medical professionals need to make that decision where they are at that moment, under the circumstances.”
Opponents said they feared it would cause OB-GYN physicians to decline to treat patients with a risky pregnancy, since they would face loss of their medical license and a possible one to five-year prison sentence, if found guilty of violating the law, a Class D felony.
Twenty-eight states have a similar law, including four of Kentucky’s neighbors: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee.
This is the third time Westerfield has sponsored a Born Alive bill. In 2019 it cleared the Senate and a House committee, but never received a vote on the floor of the House. In 2020, it easily won passage in both chambers, but was vetoed by the Governor, and since lawmakers had adjourned, were unable to take a vote to override the veto.
The measure, which was approved 76-18, now heads to the governor. It is likely that Gov. Andy Beshear will veto the measure but, given the margin of victory in both the House and Senate, the veto is likely to be overridden by lawmakers and become law.
While most bills don’t become law until 90 days after the General Assembly adjourns, SB 9 contains an emergency clause, so it would take effect immediately either upon signing by the Governor or his veto being overridden.