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Republican lawmaker introduces bill to ban all abortions in Kentucky

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Republican lawmaker in Kentucky has introduced a legislation that aims to ban all abortions from the "fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum" until birth.

The "Abolition of Abortion in Kentucky Act," submitted by Rep. Dan Johnson of Mt. Washington, would remove language from existing law that exempts abortionists from criminal prosecution, according to Christian News Network.

The legislation also adds a text that requires prosecutors to apply fetal homicide laws "to abortion facilities, or any other provisions of the law relating to an abortion, regardless of the identity of the actor."

However, it leaves in place a provision that allows abortions to be conducted in cases of medical emergency or necessity.

Fetal homicide is considered a felony that can be charged as a capital offense but it is not eligible for the death penalty.

Abortion advocates are already questioning the constitutionality of Johnson's proposal. Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues manager with the abortion rights group Guttmacher Institute, contended that the U.S. Constitution does not allow states to legally ban abortions.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has said that a state may place restrictions on abortion before viability, but the state cannot ban abortion before viability," she told local radio station WFPL.

"The state can place more restrictions on abortion after viability but after viability, a woman must still be able to access abortion if her life or health is at risk," she continued.

The proposal would direct state attorneys to enforce the law "regardless of any contrary or conflicting state or federal laws, administrative regulations, executive orders, or judicial decisions."

Johnson, a preacher from Bullitt County, just south of Louisville, has stirred controversy last year after he posted several images on social media that some found to be offensive or racist, including one depicting former President Barack Obama as a monkey. The lawmaker denied the accusation, contending that the material was only meant to be satire.

A bill that makes it a felony to perform an abortion has been approved by the Oklahoma legislature recently, but it was vetoed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin over concerns that it would not withstand a legal challenge.

Earlier this year, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed two pro-life bills into law — one forbids abortions during or after the 20th week of pregnancy, and the other requires doctors to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions and describe the fetus and fetal heartbeat. The law requiring ultrasounds prior to abortion has been challenged in federal court.

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