Kentucky Senate Passes Another Abortion Bill

On Thursday, the Kentucky Senate approved yet another bill that will make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions.The bill now goes to the House.

It expands Kentucky’s “informed consent” law to require an ultrasound 24 hours before an abortion may take place. Currently, information about the procedure has to be given to the patient twenty-hour hours beforehand.

This is a popular tactic among pro-life activists, one among many. Others include the parental consent for women under the age of eighteen  and requiring women to get the approval of two doctors.

The ultrasound is unnecessary for first-trimester abortions–the vast majority of abortions are during the first trimester. If it were, doctors would already be performing them.

For those familiar with this topic, it is clear that this law’s sole purpose is to make abortion more expensive, harder to get, and for those women in difficult situations, more emotionally difficult. As mentioned earlier, , Kentucky’s current law requires doctors to give women information about the procedure twenty-four hours prior–clearly attempting to force women to make two trips to the doctor’s office. From the Courier-Journal:

Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Erlanger, said the intent of that law is being violated because the information is normally being provided women by phone — not during a face-to-face meeting.

However, I’ve dug up the relevant statute.

From KRS 311.725:

“At least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the abortion, in an individual, private setting, a physician, licensed nurse, physician assistant, or social worker to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the physician has informed the pregnant woman that…”

“At least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the abortion, a copy of the printed materials has been provided to the pregnant woman if she chooses to view these materials…”

“The pregnant woman certifies in writing, prior to the performance or inducement of the abortion…”

The title of this section of the statute is “Requirement of voluntary and informed written consent for abortion — Cabinet’s duty to produce and make available informational materials — Abortions in medical emergencies.” The “intent” of the law itself, as it says, is requiring “informed consent” and it defines informed consent by describing the fetus in its stage of development, telling the woman that there are other options besides abortion, and giving her a bunch of leaflets I’m sure looks exactly like what the pro-lifers that protest outside the Women’s Health Care clinic downtown hand out. There’s nothing requiring a woman’s physical presence in the doctor’s office, only that it be a private, one-on-one setting. A phone call does that nicely.

Senator Westwood isn’t talking about the law’s intent. He is talking about the pro-life groups’ intent for the law. Senator Westwood forgets–it’s not the pro-life lobby’s intent for the law that matters here. Hence, Bill 9.

Bill 9 is yet another governmental intrusion into the private lives of citizens. It’s yet another chip to be chiseled away from Roe v. Wade, and another slap in the face of women everywhere.

The talk right now is cordiality, cooperation, and finding common ground between Democrats and Republicans. Let’s test that out with Bill 9–it has something for everyone to hate-government intrusion into women’s bodies, more government regulation, right down to the information and procedures doctors must do, and outright misogyny. Let’s have a party of the Parties, and kick this bill to the curb in the House.

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