Ky. Pre-Abortion Ultrasound, Counseling Bills Advance to Full Senate

January 30, 2012 — A Kentucky Senate Committee on Thursday approved two bills that would require ultrasounds and in-person counseling before abortion care, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The measures now go to the full Senate.

One bill (SB 103) would require that doctors perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortion care and show them the image, which they could refuse to view. The measure would impose a fine of up to $250,000 for health care providers who violate the requirements. The other bill (SB 102) would require women to receive in-person counseling 24 hours before obtaining abortion care. Under current law, the information can be provided by telephone.

Sen. Kathy Stein (D) said lawmakers should "trust adult women to make decisions for themselves." She said the 24-hour rule would be a hardship for low-income women from rural areas, since they would need to make two trips to the abortion provider or arrange overnight lodging.

Similar measures have passed the Republican-controlled Senate in the past few years, but they were rejected in the Democratic-controlled House (Yetter, Louisville Courier-Journal, 1/26).