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Abortion: Informed Consent Bill Passes Kentucky Senate

The state Senate passed an abortion-related measure by a 30-5 vote today.

Senate Bill 4, introduced by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, calls for a face-to-face meeting between the pregnant woman and a healthcare provider at least 24-hours before an abortion takes place.

Adams said current law states a physician, licensed nurse, physician assistant or social worker must verbally inform the woman of the medical risks and abortion alternatives at least 24-hours before an abortion, but it does not specify that the information be given in a face-to face meeting. She said it is sometimes done via a recorded telephone message.

“The importance of a face-to-face medical consultation prior to consenting to a surgical procedure is a widely accepted medical standard of care – and Kentucky woman deserve no less,” Raque said. 

Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, said abortion-related measures always prompt a lot of discussion about women’s rights but not about a baby’s rights.

“Somebody has to be the voice of those children … ,” he said. “Life begins at conception.”

Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, said he was compelled to publicly explain his vote since he was the only medical doctor currently serving as a Senator. He said informed consent is basically an ethics doctrine.

“I don’t see how anyone could possibly want to restrict this from an individual,” he said. “Informed consent should be looked on as a process rather than a signature … .”

Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale, voted for the bill but complained legislators “never include daddies’ rights” in abortion-related measures.

Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, explained why she voted against the bill.

“This bill is just another annual assault on women’s right to make a personal decision,” she said. “It is demeaning to all women and particularly burdensome on working women and women in rural areas. Politics don’t belong in the exam room.”

Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, was also against the bill.

“I don’t know why it is we have to impose upon these women a guilt trip … ,” he said.

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.

From the Legislative Research Commission