Legislature moving on bill to strengthened informed consent law
By Dave Andrusko
In a typical in your face gesture, Planned Parenthood announced yesterday it was offering abortions in Louisville on the same afternoon lawmakers in the House were debating a bill that would strengthen the informed consent requirement that women wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion.
That move infuriated Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. “They are openly and knowingly operating an unlicensed abortion facility in clear violation of the law,” Gov. Bevin said in a statement. “We will use the full force of the commonwealth to put a stop to this. There is no room in Kentucky for this kind of blatant disregard for proper legal procedure.”
WAVE 3 News reported that “Bevin cited a statute which prohibits abortions without a license and can impose fines from $500 to $10,000.”
On Thursday night Gov. Bevin’s administration ordered Planned Parenthood to stop performing abortions at its new facility in Louisville. The Courier-Journal’s Deborah Yetter reported
Thursday’s letter from Kentucky’s Acting Inspector General Stephanie Hold said the office within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has identified two deficiencies in Planned Parenthood’s license application. The letter said the new clinic lacked adequate written agreements with an acute care hospital and an ambulance service required should a patient develop unforeseen complications.
The absence of those agreements “prevent us from continuing our review of your application at this time,” the letter said. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood is directed to “cease and desist” offering any abortion services, the letter said.
Earlier on Thursday, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (or PPINK) issued a statement that PPINK had “applied for an abortion facility license and commenced services under the guidance of the Office of the Inspector General, the state office that is responsible for licensing health facilities.”
That office is housed within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, part of state government. Planned Parenthood didn’t say whether it had yet received the license, only that it followed the guidance of the licensing agency in beginning abortion services. …
[Betty Cockrum, PPINK president] said Planned Parenthood officials considered the matter carefully before deciding to include surgical and non-surgical abortions (those induced by medication) among the health services at the new site on Seventh Street.
According to Yetter, the new location opened on December 11, 2015, and began performing abortions on January 21. Prior to opening the clinic on Seventh Street , Kentucky “had only one abortion provider, a private clinic in Louisville that also operates a part-time clinic in Lexington.”
According to Kentucky Right to Life, “Kentucky law already requires information be provided at least 24 hours before an abortion, but that information is often given over the phone, say supporters of SB 4” without any interaction with the abortionist.
The Associated Press reported that legislators could possibly take up a final vote next week. Right now the question is whether the Senate will accept changes in the bill made by the House.
Passed earlier in the month the Senate’s version requires women to meet in person with the abortionist at least 24 hours before an abortion. Last night the House passed a version that includes the options of meetings in person or by real-time video consultation, the AP reported.
The House version allows a doctor to designate a licensed nurse, physician assistant or social worker to represent him or her at the in-person or video consultations,” reported the AP’s Bruce Schreiner. “The Senate supports allowing those others to represent a doctor at in-person meetings.”
The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans. “The House vote came at a time when Democrats are fighting to maintain their control of the chamber,” Schreiner reported. “Democrats are clinging to a 50-46 House majority, with four special elections looming in March.”