Anti-Abortion Bill Voted Down In House Committee

Posted on March 22, 2012

NBC, March 22, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A proposal that would have required doctors to allow women seeking abortions to see ultrasound images was voted down Thursday in the Kentucky legislature.

The House Health and Welfare Committee rejected the measure 9-5, despite an appeal from its sponsor, Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, who said it would ensure women receive vital information needed to make their decisions.

“There are self-confessions by women who say they’re haunted by the decision that they have made to abort a pregnancy, and if they had seen an ultrasound they would have never made that decision,” Bowen said.

The perennial bill, sponsored by a series of senators over the years, has routinely passed the Republican-controlled Senate only to die in the Democratic-led House. It was the only anti-abortion bill that died in the committee Thursday. Others would have required a face-to-face consultation with medical providers and would have barred abortions in instances where doctors hear fetal heartbeats.

The ultrasound measure has been softened over the years from an original version that would have required doctors to show women the images to the current language that says doctors must make the images available if the women want to see them.

Rep. Ben Waide, R-Hopkinsville, said no one should object to a proposal that would provide women pondering abortions with images that would give them more information on which to base a decision.

“I’ve never seen a more commonsense approach,” he said.

Doctors who violate the provision would have faced fines of $100,000 or more if the bill had become law.

“Every day, roughly 18 women in Kentucky make the decision to abort their babies,” Bowen said. “Many regret this decision later. Life-changing and life-ending ending decisions need as much information as possible, especially if the decision can’t be reversed.”

Rep. Jim Glenn, D-Owensboro, said the proposal infringes on women’s rights to decide.

“This is a family issue,” he said. “The family should be making the decisions about what they want to do.”

Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, said lawmakers shouldn’t try to impose their personal beliefs on all women.

“Most women, I think, probably have enough sense to know what they want to do,” Owens said. “And I think most women, if they do this, have not done it on the spur of the moment. They’ve given a great deal of thought to it. So it would appear to me that, with all the information out there, I don’t know why we should legislatively get between a woman and her physician.”

Posted in: Kentucky