Kentucky Panel Passes Pro-Life Bill to Help Women Find Better Alternatives to Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 14, 2016   |   8:05PM   |   Frankfort, KY

A long-proposed measure to provide pregnant women in Kentucky with information about alternatives to abortion passed in a committee vote Wednesday.

The Kentucky Courier-Journal reports that the bill would require a face-to-face meeting between a woman and a doctor or other medical personnel at least 24-hours before having an abortion. During the meeting, the woman would be informed about the risks of abortion, the age of her unborn baby and the support available to her if she chose childbirth.

“This is a solid bill that does much to move not only the healthcare but the wellness of women out of the restricted column and into priority status, which we so rightly deserve,” said Sen. Julie Raque Adams, a Louisville Republican who is the sponsor of the bill.

“The importance of a face-to-face medical consultation prior to consenting to a surgical procedure is a widely accepted medical standard of care – and Kentucky woman deserve no less,” she previously told River City News.

In the past few years, pro-life state Senate Republicans have proposed similar bills, only to meet opposition in the pro-abortion Democrat-controlled House, according to the report. This year, lawmakers are more hopeful that it will pass, the report states.

The report continues:

The Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee approved the bill Wednesday with a 9-1 vote and it is sure to pass the Senate, where Republicans hold a big majority.

In recent years, the measure has cleared the Senate only to be blocked in the House, where Democrats control.

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said later Wednesday about the bill, “I hear more people talk about it now than I have in years past on this side. I hear some favorable comments about it.”

Current state law already requires that the “informed consent” briefing of the woman occur a day before an abortion, but many women choose to do that by phone. The bill requires that briefing be face-to-face.

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Among the comments Stumbo says he has heard from members about the bill is that the original intent of the existing law was to require the face-to-face meeting.

Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Tom Burch, a Democrat who previously voted against the bill, also seemed less certain this year, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

“You know, we have members change every two years, and thoughts change on the issues every two years,” said Burch, D-Louisville. “So I can’t tell you what’s going to happen.”

Currently in Kentucky, an abortionist, licensed nurse, abortionist’s assistant or a social worker must verbally inform the woman of the medical risks and abortion alternatives at least 24-hours before an abortion; however, it does not specify that the information be given in a face-to face meeting. In the past, the information has even been relayed via telephone call.

In the United States, 27 states have informed consent laws in place; but unfortunately, most abortion advocates oppose the common-sense legislation. They claim that it causes “undue burden” for women seeking abortion. However, as LifeNews previously reported, “Informed Consent” is standard operating procedure for physicians and patients considering a medical treatment, procedure, surgery or drugs.

Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has expressed its approval of informed consent laws and repeatedly upheld them as constitutional. In both cases Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 and Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007, the Supreme Court affirmed “the principle that the State has legitimate interests from the outset of pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman.” This includes an “interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well-informed.” The high court also stated, “[a]s with any medical procedure, the State may enact regulations to further the health or safety of a woman seeking an abortion.”