Republican lawmakers advanced a proposal Thursday to ban abortions after 15 weeks in Kentucky, part of a new push by abortion opponents to place restrictions on the procedure.
The measure is modeled after a Mississippi law under review by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could dramatically limit abortion rights in the United States.
The Kentucky bill would be “immediately enforceable” without risk of legal challenge if the Mississippi law is upheld, said GOP Sen. Max Wise, the bill’s lead sponsor.
Wise’s measure cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, advancing to the full Senate.
Last week, the GOP-led Kentucky House passed a separate proposal to strictly regulate the dispensing of abortion pills.
The proposed 15-week abortion ban sparked emotional debate Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Karen Berg called the measure a “medical sham” and said the legislature’s focus should be on alleviating poverty, including among women heading households.
She told her colleagues voting for the bill that “what you are doing is putting your finger, putting your knee, putting a gun to women’s heads. You are killing women. Because abortion will continue.”
Republican Sen. Danny Carroll said he backed the bill to “protect the rights of the unborn.” GOP Sen. Stephen West said debate on the bill revolved around when the unborn reach viability.
“I always think if you’re going to err on the side of life or death, you always err on the side of life and giving these babies a chance to survive,” West said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.