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Kentucky lawmakers pass two bills restricting abortions

(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)Anti-abortion rights protesters sing, chant and pray as they demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 30, 2014.

The Kentucky House and Senate passed a bill that will ban abortions after 20 weeks. A separate bill requiring physicians or technicians to perform an ultrasound on a pregnant woman before an abortion will also head to the desk of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

According to a report from CNN, House Bill 2 (HB2) would require the physician or technician to show and describe the ultrasound images to the mother, and provide the audio of the fetal heartbeat before the abortion.

The bill would allow the pregnant woman to avert her eyes from the images and request to reduce or turn off the volume of the heartbeat. HB2 was passed by the House by an 83–12 vote and 23–5 in the Senate.

State Rep. Kimberly Moser said that the bill would help ensure that pregnant women are fully informed before they make a final decision regarding an abortion.

"It is with accurate information that a patient can make an informed decision regarding their treatment, whether it is treatment for a brain tumor requiring an MRI or CAT scan, or if it is to determine the health and the progress of a pregnancy through an ultrasound," she said, according to Life News.

Abortion providers who are found to be in violation will be required to pay a fine of $100,00 for the first offense and $250,000 for subsequent offenses, according to Baptist Press.

Senate Bill 5 (SB5) will prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the period in which the unborn is believed to be capable of feeling pain. The measure provides no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, although it would permit abortions in cases when the mother's life is in danger. The Senate passed SB5 with a 30–6 vote while the House voted 79–15 to pass the measure.

Kentucky will be the 16th state to enact the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if Bevin signs SB5.

Kate Miller of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky has released a statement expressing her organization's opposition to the measures.

"Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 2 are not about women's health. They represent nothing more than political intrusion in the most personal, private decisions," the statement read.

An emergency provision included in both bills will allow the laws to take effect as soon as they are signed by the governor.

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