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GOP lawmaker files bill to add rape, incest exceptions to Kentucky abortion ban 

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GOP lawmaker files bill to add rape, incest exceptions to Kentucky abortion ban 

Feb 26, 2024 | 7:05 pm ET
By Sarah Ladd
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GOP lawmaker files bill to add rape, incest exceptions to Kentucky abortion ban聽
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Rep. Ken Fleming, R-Louisville, has filed a bill creating new exceptions to Kentucky's near total ban on abortion. (LRC Public Information)

Citing his affection for his daughters, a Louisville Republican has filed a bill that would expand exceptions to Kentucky’s abortion ban, including for rape and incest.

Rep. Ken Fleming’s House Bill 711 would leave it up to the physician to determine if rape or incest had occurred, allowing an abortion “if, in the physician’s best clinical judgment, the pregnancy is the result of” rape or incest, according to draft language provided to the Lantern. The bill,  not yet available online, was introduced on the final day for filing legislation in the House.

The bill would allow people who qualify for the exceptions to end a pregnancy “if the abortion can be performed no later than six weeks after the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period.” 

Fleming’s bill would also “clarify that abortions may be performed to remove a dead unborn fetus, an ectopic pregnancy or incomplete miscarriage or in cases of a lethal fetal anomaly.” 

Physicians who perform abortions would be required to “document the circumstances surrounding” them, according to a release from the Kentucky House Majority Caucus. 

“We all encounter difficult heart-wrenching decisions in life. As a father of two daughters, I have always supported them financially, emotionally, and especially spiritually. With them on my mind and in my heart, exceptions for life-saving measures for the mother and in cases involving rape or incest should be included in our state’s abortion law. HB 711 leaves the abortion law intact while allowing exceptions for life of the mother and for rape and incest,” Fleming said in a statement.

Several bills seeking to loosen Kentucky’s strict abortion restrictions were filed earlier in the session by Democrats, but have not moved. 

In 2023, Republican Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, filed a bill seeking rape and incest exceptions up to 15 weeks. That bill did not advance.