Republicans took control of the Kentucky Legislature, thanks to the 2016 elections, and introduced two bills on Jan. 3 that would restrict women from getting a legal abortion.
Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith sponsored Senate Bill 5, which bans abortions at 20 weeks except in the cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. Doctors who violate the proposed law would face fines and suspensions, notes the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Another bill in Kentucky, House Bill 2, would require doctors to present pregnant women with results of an ultrasound before performing an abortion.
Republican state Senate President Robert Stivers explained how women have one choice regarding reproductive rights, which is conception:
I think we are very well aware of the issues as it relates to this bill and are ready and willing to proceed with this bill. This is my belief: there are two viable beings involved. One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not. Once conception starts, another life is involved, and the legislature has the ability to determine how that life proceeds.
A 2005 study published in the medical periodical, Journal of the American Medical Association, found that a fetus was unlikely to feel pain until the third trimester, about 27 weeks:
Because pain perception probably does not function before the third trimester, discussions of fetal pain for abortions performed before the end of the second trimester should be noncompulsory. Fetal anesthesia or analgesia should not be recommended or routinely offered for abortion because current experimental techniques provide unknown fetal benefit and may increase risks for the woman.
Kate Connors, a spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told Live Science in 2016: "The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester."
In more health care news, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee took an informal Twitter poll on Jan. 3: "Do you support the repeal of Obamacare? RT if you do, and share what you want to see as the replacement."
Of those who responded, 84 percent did not support a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, while 18 percent did.
Mother Jones, which reported on the poll, notes that Blackburn is on President-elect Donald Trump's transition team.