January 22, 2016 — Kentucky House lawmakers voted 72-11 to hold a first reading on a bill (SB 4) that would require women to undergo in-person mandatory counseling with a physician or physician designee at least 24 hours before an abortion, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Schreiner, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).
The state Senate approved the measure on Tuesday.
In recent years, the measure has been consistently approved by the state Senate but rejected by the state House. For example, the Kentucky Senate in January 2015 voted 30-5 to pass a similar measure (SB 4), but it was defeated in the state House Health & Welfare Committee two months later.
Under current state law, a licensed nurse, physician, physician assistant or social worker must tell women at least 24 hours prior to an abortion about the procedure's risks and abortion alternatives. The state allows the mandatory counseling to be provided over the phone (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/20).
House Votes To Advance Bill
State Rep. Jeff Hoover (R), House floor leader for Republican lawmakers, said the procedural move demonstrated to House leadership that state lawmakers want to vote on the bill this year.
The full state House cannot vote to approve or reject the measure until it has been referred to committee and undergone additional readings. According to theAP/Chronicle, Democratic lawmakers currently control the state House, at 50-46, but four special elections in March could change the majority (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20).