CHOICE/LESS – Running Out of Time: Kentucky’s 20-Week Abortion Ban

Jenn Stanley

Last winter, Kentucky state lawmakers fast-tracked a bill to ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization. In this episode of CHOICE/LESS, Heather Hyden, 30, of Lexington, Kentucky, talks about how that bill directly affected her and her pregnancy.

An edited excerpt:

Heather: We had found out that the diagnosis had gotten a lot worse. The morning that we went to the hearing, we found out that our baby had developed hydrops fetalis, which is an ultrasound marker where her whole body was filled with fluid. There was fluid all around her heart and lungs, so we found that out, and then we rushed to Frankfort to testify. The next hearing that we went to, we actually got … I got a minute to speak to Brandon Smith, who was the sponsor, and I held his hand and looked at him in the face, and I said, “Brandon, we’re not trying to do anything crazy here. We’re just trying to get an exception for women and for families in my position,” and he cried and left, and then came back for the testimony, and after we spoke, he went on his crazy tirade again about crushing fetal organs, and how if this was puppies, we wouldn’t be so cold.

I don’t think there was one single woman on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. It was like being in a dystopic movie, all of these men just pretending like they couldn’t even see me, watching me as I was trying to share with them how dangerous this legislation was for me, and how it was going to basically put us on a conveyor belt of time, where it just speeds up everything. It amplifies everything. It makes … It scares you so much that you are worried like, “Okay, should I even get this test done? How do we wait for results? What are we going to do if the results are positive?” It gives you absolutely zero chance to just take care of yourself.

Transcript (pdf)