Kentucky just passed a major abortion ban. Here's how that could affect you.

Kentucky Legislature just became one more in a growing line of states to pass a strict abortion ban.

Last night, the Kentucky state House passed a bill that would ban abortions after six weeks, otherwise known as a "heartbeat bill." What that means is any medical practitioner offering abortions would first have to check for a heartbeat, and if one is detected, they would not be legally allowed to perform an abortion.

As of now, there are only a few exceptions to the ban, for example, if the mother's life is in danger, but if someone is seeking an abortion because of a fetal diagnosis, the ban would stand.


The bill has now been sent to the Republican Governor Matt Bevin who will almost certainly sign it.

Kentucky State Capitol. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

This so-called "heartbeat bill," is one of many that've been passed across the country in recent years.

Ohio was one of the first states to try and pass the bill back in 2011, and it's since been followed by states like Arkansas, Utah, Tennessee, Mississippi, Colorado, South Dakota and Louisiana. Similar bills have been considered by many more.

While bills of this nature are regularly being shut down in court because they're unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion lawmakers aren't pushing them through for kicks — there's a strategy behind these mounting legislations across the country.

According to the ACLU, who immediately filed a lawsuit against Kentucky's abortion ban before it even reached Governor Bevin's desk, these bills are being introduced to get a court case in front of a now conservative-leaning Supreme Court. The hope appears to be to undermine the 40 year-old law that protects a person's right to an abortion at its epicenter, thereby making abortion access extremely difficult nationwide.

However, pro-choice organizations, like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, are fighting these measures, and winning, in court. If you support reproductive rights, they need your help to keep it up.

It's easy to feel powerless when government institutions pass sweeping bans like this, but there's a lot you can do as an average citizen to make a difference.

  • Support local and national reproductive rights advocacy groups.

You can also support groups that specifically make abortions more accessible, like the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF).

  • Tell your abortion story on public platforms.

There's a reason the #MeToo movement has been so successful in bring sexual abusers to justice — there's power in numbers. It's may not be easy, but if you share your story on hashtags like #shoutyourabortion, you'll be in the company of so many other women hoping to normalize a human right.

  • Call your legislators

Even if you live in a state that supports a person's reproductive rights, calling and making your feelings on abortion clear can help give your legislators ammunition to fight any abortion cases that take the national stage.

  • Run for office and VOTE!

Look what happened when the people in this country got angry about our rights being threatened. We got a record number of women seated in the House of Representatives.  We got the first openly transgender person elected to a United States statehouse.

We have the power to change things in the country, even in the direst of circumstances. All it takes is passion, a little effort, and the continued belief that we deserve better.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less