Lawmakers in Kentucky passed House Bill 3 on Tuesday, which includes a number of abortion regulations, such as a prohibition on abortions after 15 weeks and a requirement for in-person distribution of the abortion pill.
The pro-life omnibus bill includes a number of provisions:
- An end to telemedicine abortions
- The requirement that all physicians must be certified before they can distribute the abortion pill
- No abortions after 15 weeks
- Creating a state-run “complaint portal” for people to report suspected violations
- Updated abortion reporting requirements
- Updated parental consent guidelines for minors who want an abortion
- Restrictions to ensure no taxpayer funding of abortion
- Guidelines to assure the dignified disposal of fetal remains.
The bill previously passed the House at the beginning of March, however, the restriction on abortion after 15 weeks started as a separate bill and was added as an amendment by senators. It was approved by members of the House on Tuesday.
One of the bill’s main provisions is a requirement that the abortion pill be distributed by a qualified physician after an in-person examination. The physician must also disclose the risks of the abortion pill, an important requirement given that the pill has been found to be four times more dangerous than a first-trimester surgical abortion and carries considerable risks. The physician must also offer the woman information about the abortion pill reversal process in case she changes her mind after taking the first pill. The requirement also includes the scheduling of a follow-up appointment to ensure that the abortion was complete. The abortion pill carries a high risk of incomplete abortion which can lead to infection.
“This bill would ensure that women have the information they need to make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives,” Rep. Nancy Tate, the bill’s sponsor, told CNN via email. “My wish is that the Governor will support this bill and the legislature because it is grounded in not only fact, but also compassion and a genuine concern for public health.”
According to the Courier-Journal, the bill’s 15-week restriction mirrors Mississippi’s abortion law, which is currently being considered by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. A ruling is expected by June.
Planned Parenthood has said that it believes that the numerous restrictions associated with HB 3 could effectively end abortion in Kentucky.
The entire bill now heads to the desk of Governor Andy Beshear. According to Reuters, even if Beshear vetoes the bill it is still likely to pass, as Republicans hold a supermajority which would allow them to override the veto. If this happens, the bill would go into effect immediately.
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