Two bills have passed the Kentucky legislature, and both have drawn the ire of the abortion industry. While both the state House and the Senate have approved the bills, Governor Andy Beshear has yet to sign them.
House Bill 451 would give Attorney General Daniel Cameron the authority to ban abortions and enforce abortion restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also classifies abortion as an elective procedure. According to Sen. Whitney Westerfield, this bill wouldn’t need to be passed if Beshear had taken action. “If he would actually step up and do the job he’s been elected to do and enforce his own order, we wouldn’t have to put this language in this bill,” he said to WFPL.
AG Cameron likewise said that abortion businesses should be closed during the pandemic. “Abortion providers should join the thousands of other medical professionals across the state in ceasing elective procedures, unless the life of the mother is at risk, to protect the health of their patients and slow the spread of the coronavirus,” he said last month.
Meanwhile, Senate Bill 9 requires medical care for infants born alive after an abortion, and makes it a Class D felony if this is not provided. The bill states that it will “require a physician performing an abortion to take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant; specify that if the physician is unable to perform those duties then an attending physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, nurse, or other healthcare worker shall assume the duties….”
Portions of House Bill 451 were folded into Senate Bill 9, combining the two measures. And it’s found support with people in the community. “I am grateful for Gov. Beshear’s efforts to protect life in Kentucky during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said in an interview with Kentucky Today. “I hope his plans will also make room for the protection of the life of the unborn. Respect for life from the cradle to the grave is a consistent pro-life position.”
The Family Foundation of Kentucky likewise applauded both measures, and encouraged Beshear to sign them. He has 10 days to either sign them into law, or veto them. Unsurprisingly, the abortion industry is already mobilizing to pressure Beshear to veto.
BREAKING: The House just passed #SB9, bill that's based on lies about how abortion care actually works. Lawmakers shamelessly rammed this through at night w/in last 3 hrs of the session, as KY Capitol remains closed to public.#KYGA20 #StopTheBans #BansOffMyBody #MyBodyMyChoice https://t.co/D9ZWCrO5n1
— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) April 16, 2020
Planned Parenthood released a statement slamming the legislation. “Right now, Kentuckians are just trying to survive the COVID-19 crisis; and politicians in Frankfort are working to take away their health care and exploit the fear and urgency of the moment to push a political agenda to ban abortion,” Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky, said. She added, “Prioritizing anything other than health care access and investment in public health systems is malpractice and will cost lives.”
ACLU-KY Reproductive Freedom Field Organizer Jackie McGranahan likewise criticized the legislation, calling it a “sad milestone” and claiming that abortion is legitimate, essential health care. “Kentucky politicians will stop at nothing, not even in the face of a global public health pandemic, to force people to remain pregnant against their will,” she said.
Abortion is never medically necessary, and it is not health care. It is not known what Beshear plans to do about this legislation, yet his past pro-abortion stances — including allowing a dangerous Planned Parenthood facility to remain open — are concerning. Legislators are hopeful that he will realize preborn lives have value and deserve protection like everyone else.
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