Rep. Goforth Official Portrait

Rep. Robert Goforth

FRANKFORT- Performing an abortion in Kentucky would be illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detectable under legislation prefiled today by Rep. Robert Goforth, R-East Bernstadt.

“My proposal recognizes that everyone has a right to life,” Goforth said. “My personal belief is that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. A heartbeat proves that there’s life that deserves protection under law—if a heart is beating, a baby needs to be protected and given an opportunity to live.”

Under Goforth’s legislation, abortion providers would be required check for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion. If a heartbeat is detected, it would be a Class D felony to perform an abortion absent a medical emergency. Providers would be required to document the reason if they decide a medical emergency exists.

A fetal heartbeat may be detectable as early as five-and-a-half to six weeks after gestation, according to healthline.com.

Goforth said his proposal deals with a subject close to his heart. “My children were barely two pounds when they were born 11 weeks early,” he said. “We spent 23 weeks in the hospital when they were born and there were babies born there even earlier than they were.

“Some states perform abortions when the gestation is even further along than my children were when they were born,” he said. “We’re talking about viable babies. They are children. We owe it to all children to stand up and fight for them. This is the most pro-life piece of the legislation that has ever been filed in the Kentucky Legislature.”

Goforth’s triplets--two boys and a girl--are now four years old.

Goforth said he knows his proposal might be challenged in court if it becomes law, but that it’s worth the fight.

“I look forward to the day our laws and our court system give unborn children the legal right to life that they deserve so they can grow and live happy and productive lives,” he said.

The fetal heartbeat bill will be considered in the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 session, which begins on Jan. 8. A similar bill has passed both houses of the Ohio Legislature and is on its way to the desk of Gov. John Kasich.