January 24, 2014 — The Kentucky Senate on Wednesday passed a bill (SB 3) that would require a woman seeking an abortion to have an in-person meeting with a medical professional at least 24 hours before the procedure, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/22).
The bill would add new requirements to a 1998 law under which women must receive certain information about an abortion 24 hours before the procedure. SB 3 passed the state Senate in a bipartisan 33-5 vote and now heads to the state House.
State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory (R), lead sponsor of the bill, said many abortion clinics use pre-recorded telephone messages, instead of an in-person consultation, to provide women with the information.
Under Gregory's bill, a physician, licensed nurse, physician assistant or social worker with physician authorization could conduct the in-person consultation.
Implications and Reactions
There are only two abortion clinics in Kentucky.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said that traveling to a clinic twice would be burdensome for women, especially those in rural areas, because of travel costs, childcare expenses and lost wages. ACLU's Derek Selznick questioned why lawmakers are singling out abortion when the state is embracing telemedicine in other areas of care.
However, Gregory said, "It's simply common sense to require a face-to-face meeting" before an abortion so women can ask questions and have "a meaningful opportunity to consider information before going forward" (Wynn, Louisville Courier-Journal, 1/23).