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'I Had a Separate Heartbeat': Kentucky's Legislative Wins Not to be Overlooked in Battle Against Abortion

06-05-2019
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One by one, states across the country are joining the front lines in the fight against abortion. 

One such state is Kentucky. From the top down, leaders are making quite a statement.

Emotions are high and passions run deep in the battle over abortion with the ultimate goal of convincing the Supreme Court to act.

Kentucky's part in the pro-life battle may not be making headlines, but its legislative wins could make a big difference in the long run.

"And they hear that heartbeat. How can we say that that's not a child? 'Cause it is one," state Sen. Matt Castlen (R) told CBN News.

Castlen is the sponsor of Senate Bill 9, or the "fetal heartbeat" bill, enacted this year. It bans abortion once an unborn baby's heartbeat can be detected, which is around six weeks.

Castlen represents District 8 in Kentucky, including the city of Owensboro. It totals around 120,000 constituents.

That might sound like a small number when you put it in the middle of a huge country, but if his heartbeat law is upheld, this district could have a profound impact on abortion nationwide.

Although a federal judge has temporarily blocked the law, Castlen believes it has what it takes to go before the Supreme Court.

"There's no doubt that this law possibly could make it that far because of it already being challenged the day after we passed it," he said. "And if it would, that would be so great because Kentucky, regardless of what the rest of the nation is doing in other states like New York or Virginia, we're standing up for life."

"And if this thing makes its way through the court system, we will fight it all the way to the end," Castlen continued.

Abortion survivor Claire Culwell testified on behalf of Kentucky's heartbeat bill.

"I wanted the Kentucky senators and representatives to be able to see my face because I think that seeing the face of an abortion survivor shows the humanity of that unborn baby," Culwell told CBN News. "And I wanted to share with them that I wasn't my birth mother's body."

"I was a separate body, and I had a separate heartbeat inside of my birth mother's body," she continued.

The heartbeat bill isn't the only Kentucky effort. State Rep. Nancy Tate (R) helped sponsor and enact a bill banning selective abortions.

A federal judge also temporarily blocked this law.

"Who would have ever thought that we would see this point where we would have to protect our children based upon race, national origin, sex or disabilities?" asked Tate. "My ultimate goal obviously would be for it to go before the United States Supreme Court."

"Several states have enacted laws like this," she continued. "And so I think that if we all band together, and the heartbeat bill as well, if we band together then obviously that is communicating to the Supreme Court judges that there is enough passion in the states in order for us to implement laws similar to those nationwide."

Kentucky's GOP leaders have made pro-life measures a priority since Republicans took control of both the state House and Senate in 2017. The governor is also a Republican and strongly pro-life.

"To me it's not a function of whether it's popular; it's not a function of whether or not people like it," Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) told CBN News. "It's about whether it's right or not, and to defend those who have no ability to defend themselves – to give voice to the voiceless is the responsibility of people in government."

"And I'm grateful to have the broad support of people in Kentucky who feel the same way, that feel that life itself is worthy of protection," he continued.

The Lexington Herald Leader reported lawmakers filed a half dozen bills in the 2019 legislative session to limit access to abortion.

State Rep. Chris Fugate (R) wants Kentucky to be seen as a leader in the national pro-life movement.

"I think that it's the heart's desire of many legislators and our governor to follow what God wants and to be a light for God," he told CBN News.

"The Bible says, 'Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven,'" Fugate continued. "And I think that it's the heart of the legislature here in Kentucky to glorify God. Not us, but Him."

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