Kentucky Senate approves two abortion-related bills

jbrammer@herald-leader.comFebruary 8, 2013 

FRANKFORT — The Senate overwhelmingly approved bills Friday that would require a woman to have an ultrasound and a face-to-face meeting with her doctor or health provider before getting an abortion.

The measures now go to the House, where they are expected to stall, as they have done for several years.

Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, would require the face-to-face meeting in a private setting with a physician, a licensed nurse, a physician assistant or a social worker delegated by a physician.

Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, was one of the four senators who voted against the bill. She said it was "overreaching," given that tele-health technology allows patients, especially in rural areas, to have medical consultations electronically.

Other Democrats voting against it were Perry Clark, Denise Harper Angel and Morgan McGarvey, all of Louisville.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, would require a doctor to conduct an ultrasound and present the resulting image to a woman before performing an abortion. The penalty for not doing so would be a $100,000 fine for a first offense and as much as $250,000 for additional violations.

Stein said the bill is "a further attempt to restrict a legal medical procedure." She also said it did not exempt women in cases of rape or incest.

Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, R-Southgate, said the bill shows respect to women by trying to provide them with all the medical facts.

McGarvey was concerned about "unintended consequences of the bill" and mentioned a medical problem his wife had in delivering twins.

The vote on SB 5 also was 31-4, with the same four senators voting no.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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