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Ky. Antiabortion-Rights Bills Fail in Committee

Ky. Antiabortion-Rights Bills Fail in Committee

March 24, 2014 — A Kentucky House Committee last week rejected three antiabortion-rights bills, including two (HB 575, SB 8) that would have required women to be shown an ultrasound before an abortion and another (SB 3) that would have mandated face-to-face consultations before abortions, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

The state's Republican-controlled Senate already approved two of the measures.

Debate

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted down the bills after about two hours of public debate, during which some Republicans and Democrats both urged the panel to let the full House vote on the bills (Wartman, Cincinnati Enquirer, 3/20).

State Sen. Sara Beth Gregory (R), sponsor of SB 3, said the committee vote to kill the bills was a "sham" to allow House Democrats who claim to oppose abortion rights to avoid having to cast votes on the issue.

Committee Chair Tom Burch (D) agreed that the measures likely had enough support to move on the House floor, but he said that there were not enough votes in committee to advance the measures.

Derek Selznick, director of the Reproductive Freedom Project for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said that the bills "are really about trying to make it more difficult, more onerous on women to get an abortion" and that they "come from a place of coercion and not consent."

Selznick added that the state likely would spend millions in legal fees defending the laws in court if they were enacted (Wynn, Louisville Courier-Journal, 3/20).