FRANKFORT — Despite pleas from House Republicans to let the issue be heard on the House floor, the House Health and Welfare Committee defeated a Senate bill that would require a woman to have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor before receiving an abortion.
Senate Bill 9, which would also require a woman to be presented with images from an ultrasound before receiving an abortion, has repeatedly passed the Republican-controlled Senate in recent years but has stalled in the Democratic-controlled House.
After a more than hourlong debate, with several Republican legislators speaking in favor of the bill, the committee voted 9 to 7 to defeat the bill.
Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Erlanger, the sponsor of the bill, said Senate Bill 9 would make it easier for women to make informed decisions about abortions.
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Some studies have shown that 80 percent of women who view an ultrasound ultimately decide against getting an abortion, Westwood said.
Republican Minority Leader Jeff Hoover asked the committee to allow the legislation to go forward even if a majority of the committee opposed it so that the full House could vote on the issue.
"For many legislators, this is their most important issue," Hoover said.
The committee will have to continue voting on abortion issues if the full House is not allowed to consider the proposal, Hoover said.
Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, had made a motion to have the bill referred out of committee without "favorable" expression so the full House could vote on it, but committee chairman Tom Burch, D-Louisville, did not rule on the motion.
Proponents of the bill say that it and others like it are being deliberately referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee because of its liberal-leaning makeup.
Pro-life legislators have also added amendments that would tighten abortion rules to various legislation related to health care in hopes of getting the issue before the House. Burch has said those pieces of legislation, including a bill that would create a panel to review deaths or near deaths of children in state custody, will be referred back to his committee.
House members who opposed the bill said they thought parts of the legislation were vague and that they did not know of any other medical procedure where the legislature dictated how care should be delivered.