by Steven Ertelt
February 27, 2007
Louisville, KY (LifeNews.com) — The fate of a pro-life bill in Kentucky that would strengthen the state’s Right to Know law is apparently sealed. House Health and Welfare Committee chairman Tom Burch, a Louisville Democrat, says he has no plans to hold a hearing on the bill despite the state Senate approving it.
"I don’t have any interest in having a hearing," Burch told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Typically, House leaders allow committee chairman to determine the agenda for their own committees and don’t overrule their decisions. That’s the case here as House Speaker Jody Richards, a Democrat who is running for governor, said there’s not much he can do.
"I’m for hearing everything but, whatever, he’s the chairman," Richards told the newspaper.
The Senate approved SB 179 earlier this month to require abortion facilities to provide information on abortion risks and alternatives to women considering an abortion in person rather than over the telephone or on a web site.
Margie Montgomery, the executive director of Kentucky Right to Life, told the newspaper the bill was her group’s "top priority" and she added, "There’s no good excuse for not bringing it up for a hearing and a vote."
In 2001, the Kentucky Medical Licensure Board interpreted the 1998 law to say that abortion practitioners didn’t have to provide women the information face to face.
The state Senate previously approved the measure on a bipartisan 34-3 vote. The House defeated the same measure last year when House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Kathy Stein, a Lexington Democrat, refused to hold a hearing on it.
Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a Republican, spoke at a rally in favor of the bill and told participants that he would sign the bill into law if the legislature gets it to him.
"We’re hopeful that piece of legislation will find its way through the General Assembly and into my office," he said, according to the Courier Journal. "It’s important that that’s done in a way that that young lady fully understands what she’s going through and what she’s doing."