Kentucky House Republicans managed to do Jan. 6 what they’d been trying accomplish for years: pass legislation that would require women to undergo ultrasounds before having abortions.
Frustrated Kentucky voters elected a super majority of pro-life Republicans in the November election, paving the way for passage of the ultrasound bill and a litany of others that had languished while the House was under Democratic control.
Republicans were joined by most of the remaining Democrats in the House in passing the ultrasound bill 83-12. The bill now moves to the Republican-led Senate where it is expected to pass overwhelmingly.
The legislation would require physicians to display the ultrasound images so women can see them. However, they would have the option to avert their eyes. The measure calls for a $100,000 fine against abortion providers for a first offense a $250,000 fine for subsequent offenses.
State Rep. Addia Wuchner, R.-Burlington, said ultrasounds will provide women with information that’s vital in making decisions about whether to have an abortion.
“This is not a bill about abortion; it’s a bill about knowledge,” said state Rep. Jim DuPlessis, a newly elected Republican lawmaker who voted for the legislation.
State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, decried what she described as elected officials making medical decisions. “This from the majority party who say they want less government in people’s lives,” she said.
The Senate, meanwhile, approved legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, at which point babies can survive outside the womb.
“This protects pain-capable children from cruelty,” said Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard. “It’s unacceptable this is happening to our children. There is no doubt in Kentucky we care and now have a chance to end this practice.”
The measure cleared the chamber 30-6 and goes to the House.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Latek is a writer for Kentucky Today, kentuckytoday.com, a news resource of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)