The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a pro-life omnibus bill last Wednesday with a vote of 77-20. Dubbed the Humanity in Healthcare Act, House Bill 3 mandates an in-person doctor examination for abortion pill distribution. It also requires the dignified disposal of fetal remains, updates abortion reporting requirements, updates current parental consent guidelines for minors who want an abortion, and affirms no taxpayer funding of abortion.
Bill sponsor Representative Nancy Tate explained that concern for women’s health was the main driver behind her decision to sponsor the bill. “Our approach with HB 3 is grounded in not only fact, but also compassion and a genuine concern for public health,” she said according to The Owensboro Times. “This bill would ensure that women have the information they need to make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Why would anyone want to limit access to information about complications that could arise from chemical abortions?”
Tate is referencing the fact that despite a recent FDA decision to allow abortion pill distribution via mail or telemedicine visit, abortion pills pose a signficant risk to women. Without an in-person visit to a doctor, many women may be unaware of the dangers. One study has found the abortion pill to be four times more dangerous than a first-trimester surgical abortion, and another found emergency room visits due to abortion pill complications have risen 500% since 2002. Some women have even died as a result of abortion pills. With women now able to receive these dangerous drugs without the requirement of in-person oversight of a physician, those numbers are sure to rise.
According to the Associated Press, Tate noted that she went online to determine what — if any — safeguards were in place for receiving abortion pills. “Within 15 minutes, I had this product on its way… in a nondescript package with no doctor visit, no consultation, no information at all,” Tate said, adding that “that’s not the kind of health care” that should be available in Kentucky.
While the FDA has approved mail-order use of abortion pills, states are still free to enact their own restrictions, which is the main purpose of HB 3. In its efforts to pass this legislation, Kentucky joins a handful of other states that have created or are looking to create similar laws.
While the abortion pill component is the main requirement for HB 3, the bill would also change the current parental notification law to stipulate that attempts must be made to contact both parents, not just one, before a minor may obtain an abortion, and it raises the standard to obtain a judicial bypass. Additionally, the bill requires that parents be given an opportunity to take responsibility of their deceased child’s remains; if they relenquish the responsibility, those fetal remains may not be sold or disposed of as medical or pathological waste.
The bill next heads to the Senate for consideration.
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