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The Latest: Kentucky lawmakers pass strict abortion bill

Kentucky lawmakers have given final passage to a bill that would ban most abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The Republican-dominated House voted Thursday night to enact one of the country’s strictest abortion measures. The bill now goes to Kentucky’s anti-abortion governor, Republican Matt Bevin. Kentucky joins GOP-led legislatures in several other states that are moving toward enacting a so-called fetal heartbeat law.

The Kentucky measure would require anyone seeking an abortion to first determine if a fetal heartbeat is detectable. If it is, the abortion would be banned. A fetal heartbeat can be detected about six weeks into pregnancy. The measure would provide narrow exceptions for abortions, such as when the mother’s life is endangered.

Final passage of the bill puts Kentucky on another legal collision course with abortion-rights defenders, who have promised to challenge the measure in court.

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5:45 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union has followed through on its vow to file a federal lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s latest effort to restrict abortion.

The new lawsuit asks a federal judge to block legislation that would ban abortion for women seeking to end their pregnancies because of the gender, race or disability of the fetus.

The bill cleared the legislature on Wednesday, and the ACLU immediately said it would challenge it. The suit was filed on behalf of the last abortion clinic in Kentucky.
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