By Dave Andrusko
Pro-life Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he will sign Senate Bill 4, a measure that beefs up the state’s informed consent law. Symbolically, it was the first bill the legislature has sent to the governor.
“The overwhelming support for Senate Bill 4 in the Kentucky legislature is a positive step toward protecting the emotional and physical health and safety of women,” Bevin said in a statement. “When enacted, we will ensure that the legislative regulations follow the full intent of the law with regards to a face-to-face, real-time informed consultation. I look forward to signing this long overdue, pro-life bill into law.” The Senate passed the measure yesterday 33-5.
The Senate accepted changes made by the Democratically-controlled House to its version, passed in January. Originally the Senate measure required women to meet in person with the abortionist at least 24 hours before an abortion. The House subsequently passed a measure that includes the options of meetings in person or by real-time video. Last week the House passed that bill 92-3.
In a speech on the floor prior to the Monday vote, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R) said, “We have waited 12 long years for the House to agree with the Senate on pro-life language that will save the lives of the unborn.” He added, “Today…we will give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.”
According to McClatchyNews’ Jack Brammer
House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, watched the Senate vote from the back of the chamber with several other Republican House members.
“I can’t begin to express the level of my happiness and appreciation for members of both the House and Senate in their efforts to work to find consensus on a pro-life bill that is so important to so many Kentuckians.,” Hoover later said.
Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones, a Democrat, added that the bill is “long overdue and that the issue was “not Democrat or Republican; it’s right or wrong.” Brammer added
He recalled seeing his son’s heartbeat nine years ago in an ultrasound. “I knew he was a human being.”
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 without any interaction with the abortionist.
Critics including the ACLU of Kentucky said the bill “adds an unnecessary barrier to safe and legal abortions, by requiring a 24-hour, forced delay before the procedure for counseling.”
SB 4 “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,” according to the Associated Press.