Ky. Senate Passes Bill Requiring Narrated Ultrasound Before Abortion

February 7, 2014 — The Kentucky Senate on Wednesday passed a bill (SB 8) that would require women to undergo an ultrasound while having the image described to them by the administering medical professional before receiving an abortion, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

The bill would amend the state's existing law requiring pre-abortion counseling, and add fines if abortion providers fail to perform and describe an ultrasound. The fines would range from up to $100,000 for the first offense to up to $250,000 for subsequent offenses.

The state Senate has passed similar bills in the past, which have all been defeated by the Democratic-controlled House, according to the Courier-Journal. The latest bill passed the Senate in a 33-5 vote, with Democratic lawmakers casting all of the dissenting votes (Wynn, Louisville Courier-Journal, 2/5).

Senate Debate

State Sen. Reginald Thomas (D) said the bill reflected "a Scarlet Letter mentality" toward women, adding that women "don't have to have face-to-face meetings" or "ultrasounds ... to understand what it means to be pregnant."

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R), the bill's sponsor, acknowledged that prior ultrasound bills have died in the House, but said he is asking for prayers "to soften the hearts" of House members when considering the latest bill (Schreiner, AP/Washington Times, 2/5).