Lawmakers in Kentucky’s House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state – if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
The bill passed 69-20 in the House, and now heads to the state’s Senate. It would ban abortions except for cases when it is necessary to save the life of the mother.
The legislation would take effect if Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country, is reversed and states have the authority to outlaw abortion.
Lawmakers staked out their views on abortion during the emotionally charged debate.
"Not one of us, man or woman, has the moral authority to take the life of an unborn," said Republican Rep. James Tipton. "There is no other medical procedure that I know of that the goal is to intentionally take the life of an unborn child."
Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Marzian said if the bill were to take effect, it would amount to government intrusion into the private medical decisions of women.
"It's none of our business," she said. "If you want to go have a colonoscopy, should we get ourselves involved in that? If you want to take Viagra, should we get ourselves involved in that?"
Kentucky is among states enacting strict abortion laws in hopes of triggering a legal challenge to the high court. Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have similar laws on the books triggering abortion bans if the Roe v. Wade decision is struck down.
Anti-abortion legislators and activists around the country believe President Trump has strengthened the push to topple the Roe v. Wade ruling with his appointments of conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, liberal states, including New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, have been making efforts to pass bills that loosen restrictions on abortion.
Controversy has erupted in Virginia, where the Democratic sponsor of a Virginia abortion proposal acknowledged it could allow women to terminate a pregnancy up until the moment before birth, for reasons including mental health.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam came under after he waded into the fight, with critics saying Northam indicated a child could be killed after birth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.