Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed bills into law on Jan. 7 that ban late-term abortions and require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds.
Both laws took effect as soon as Bevin's signature was applied. Lawmakers held a rare session on Saturday (Jan. 7) to give final passage to a series of high-priority bills, including two that would curb abortions.
The late-term abortion law bans the procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases in which the mother's life is in danger. Physicians who violate the measure could have their medical licenses revoked and could be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.
Under the ultrasound law, physicians are required to display the images so women can see, though they have the option to avert their eyes if they don't want to see them. Physicians face a $100,000 fine for a first offense and a $250,000 fine for subsequent offenses.
Both the new laws were heralded by evangelicals.
"Kentucky Baptists have been working, hoping, and praying for this day for a very long time," said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention, the state's largest religious organization.
The abortion laws, along with several others, passed in the first week of the 2017 legislative session. All of them also went into effect immediately.
Kentucky Today (www.kentuckytoday.com) is a news resource of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.