Fetal heartbeat: New abortion-related fight in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Already mired in three lawsuits over abortion restrictions, Kentucky lawmakers are ratcheting up the stakes with a new bill to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The measure introduced Tuesday appears to be on a fast track in the Republican-dominated state Senate as a new legislative session begins.

The American Civil Liberties Union warns the heartbeat bill would prohibit most abortions in Kentucky and would immediately trigger a legal challenge.

"This bill, like all restrictions on abortion, is really about lawmakers thinking they know what is best for you," said Kate Miller, the ACLU Kentucky Advocacy Director.

Senator Matt Castlen told reporters something different.

"The purpose of Senate Bill 9 is exactly how it reads, it is to make it illegal to abort a baby once a heartbeat is detected because a heartbeat represents life," said Senator Castlen.

One of the bill's sponsors, Republican Senator C.B. Embry Jr., says legal challenges to the state in other abortion cases won't deter Kentucky lawmakers from pushing ahead with an even more restrictive measure.

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