Lots of controversy this week in Frankfort as four different anti-abortion bills were stymied by the House Health And Welfare Committee. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ever been to one of those committee hearings, since the long-time chairman, Tom Burch of Louisville, has always made it very clear that he is staunchly pro-choice.
Three of the four proposals were sponsored by Republican David Floyd, who didn’t even bother to show up for the hearings. Dave is a pretty smart guy, and my guess is Floyd knew way ahead of time the measures had no chance. But, some observers suddenly contend that Democrat Burch is trying to hijack debate on other more pressing issues by throwing abortion bills front and center.
Excuse my response, but that may be the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. If that truly was the case, Burch would not have even called the bills for a hearing. He’s done it before, and so have other committee chairs of BOTH parties.
Tom Burch has never allowed any measure involving abortion to escape his committee. Not because he’s petty and vindictive, but because he firmly believes that no one should dictate a woman’s right to choose.
Let me give you another example. A few years ago his committee was holding extensive hearings on the new HPV vaccine that had just been approved for use in young girls to prevent Humanpapillomavirus, which causes Cervical Cancer. (And has also now been suggested for use in males). The opponents–many of whom are pushing these current measures–howled bloody murder, and claimed it would induce little girls to have sex and cause widespread teen pregnancy outbreaks if approved. A regular teen sex Armageddon if you will. Ummm nope not so much.
Tom Burch told me then-on the record- and several times thereafter, he would never allow any bill he deemed to be hurtful to women’s health or well being to leave his committee. I believed him then and I believe him now. Burch at first glance, seems like the last guy to be a flaming Liberal, but on most social issues, he’s way out in front. He’s an older guy with twinkling eyes and a great sense of humor, but don’t mistake him for your Grandpa, because Burch will rip you to shreds if you don’t have your facts straight, or a coherent point of view.
In other words House Republicans, Tom Burch is the same guy he’s always been. Never does the politically expedient thing, and seems to always be true to his convictions. He never cops out. He also never caves in.