AG Beshear tells leges: Fetal heartbeat bill is unconstitutional

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Attorney General Andy Beshear sent a letter to the leaders of the General Assembly today, telling them that SB 9, the bill that would make abortion illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, is unconstitutional.

In his letter (attached at the end of this story), he notes that “the Supreme Court of the United States has uniformly held – in no fewer than eight separate decisions – that neither Congress nor the States can ban abortions before viability.”

He goes on to note that courts have generally held that viability occurs around 24 weeks, but that viability must be a medical decision made on a case-by-case basis. Because a fetal heartbeat can usually be detected at 6 weeks (long before viability), the bill’s blanket prohibition “violates every applicable United States Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Court case on the topic.”

The letter includes multiple references to similar bills being struck down, as well as to case law regarding a woman’s right to an abortion. The letter points out that other states have recognized the futility of passing such a law, due to the fact that it would assuredly be struck down.

Finally, the letter from AG Beshear to the legislative leaders concludes:

The Supreme Court has spoken on this issue. This means that when the state is sued over this law, the Commonwealth will lose, and will owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Here is the entire letter: AG Beshear letter to General Assembly re SB9

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