FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WSAZ) -- UPDATE 3/15/19 @ 5:37 p.m.
Abortion-rights defenders have expanded their legal fight against Kentucky to try to block the state's most restrictive abortion measure, which would mostly ban the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The American Civil Liberties amended a federal lawsuit Friday to take aim at the so-called fetal heartbeat bill. The measure won final passage late Thursday in Kentucky's Republican-dominated legislature and was sent to the state's anti-abortion governor, Republican Matt Bevin.
Bevin's office did not immediately comment on the latest legal action.
ACLU attorneys say the heartbeat bill would prohibit 90 percent of abortions in Kentucky.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.
UPDATE 2/15/19 @ 7 p.m.
Amanda Holland was filled with joy when finding out her and her husband were expecting a baby.
"This one says 'you are my sunshine,' this says 'sweet baby boy,' ” she said.
But after experiencing complications that almost killed her, Holland's son Adam was born at 21 weeks and four days. They were told he was too early to be put in the NICU.
"He weighed one pound and was eleven inches,” Holland said.
Despite his small size, Adam lived for two hours on his own, a feat that doctors didn't think he was capable of.
"They weren’t expecting him to live at all after he was born cause his lungs were not developed,” she said.
That’s why she supports Kentucky Senate Bill 9, also known as the fetal heartbeat bill.
Despite the complications she experienced, Holland says if she was in the same situation again she would still make the same choice.
"Knowing that I have these shoes that are never going to be filled and it's so easy to go and get an abortion,” she said.
But not everyone agrees with her position.
Thursday on the Senate floor, Sen. Morgan McGarvey talked about a decision his family had to make while they were expecting twins.
"You're pregnant with twins and your water breaks at 24 weeks and five days, and the doctors tell you you can terminate the pregnancy of one of your children to save the life of the other,” he said.
He felt that it was a choice that did not involve others.
"I was personally insulted that 138 members of the general assembly thought they needed to be with us when we made it,” McGarvey said.
No matter the side, it’s a debate that is close to the heart of many.
"I can always hold him in my heart, and I know that's where he is,” Holland said.
The bill will now go to the House for consideration. The ACLU of Kentucky said if the bill becomes law they will challenge it in court.
ORIGINAL STORY 2/14/19
After hearing the beating heart of a fetus, Kentucky lawmakers advanced a bill to ban most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Before a Senate committee approved the bill Thursday, a woman came forward and allowed the audience to hear her unborn son's heartbeat through an electronic monitor.
The woman, April Lanham, is a constituent of Sen. Matt Castlen, the bill's lead sponsor. Lanham said afterward she came forward because her unborn baby's heartbeat would be a "powerful noise" for lawmakers to hear before the vote.
Kentucky is among several states with pending bills to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.
ACLU executive Kate Miller told lawmakers Kentucky's bill would be challenged in court if it becomes law.