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Ky. Gov. Signs Mandatory Counseling Measure

February 3, 2016 — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Tuesday signed into law an amended bill (SB 4) that would add requirements to a state law requiring women to undergo mandatory counseling prior to receiving abortion care, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

The law is scheduled to take effect in July (Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader, 2/2).

Background

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.

Last month, the state Senate voted 32-5 to approve a version of SB 4 that would have required women to undergo the counseling in person. Later in January, conservative lawmakers in the state House held a procedural vote in an effort to force a vote on the Senate-passed version. However, the procedural vote failed.

Last week, the state House passed an amended version of the bill that would require physicians or a physician designee to discuss the procedure's risks and alternatives with women in person or via video chat at least 24 hours before the procedure. Physicians would still be permitted to authorize a licensed nurse, physician assistant or social worker to deliver the message on their behalf. After the state Senate approved the amended bill earlier this week, it headed to Bevin for his signature (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/2).