Controversy arises after Ky. Senate passes abortion bill

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by Michelle Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 6 at 6:50 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky.— A Kentucky senate voted on Wednesday in favor of a proposed law to require doctors to perform ultrasounds prior to abortions and to describe what is seen to the pregnant women.

Wednesday's vote passed 33-5 and was not the first time the bill has passed through the Senate.

The bill's lead sponsor, Senator Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville republican, said the bill has received overwhelming support.
 
"Fifty-nine co-sponsors out of 100 want that to be a law in the House and 33 out of 38 over here in the Senate want it,” Sen. Westerfield said. “If they don't hear it, it will be the 10th year and there are a lot of lives lost as a result of not hearing it and moving that legislation forward.”
 
The bill now moves to a committee who will decide if it moves to the house. But the chair of the committee who will likely hear the bill said the law is unconstitutional.
 
"Two states have passed laws like that and they were both struck down. I don't see why we should waste our time on legislation that will cost the taxpayers about $300,000 to find out that they can’t do it," said Rep. Tom Burch (D) Louisville, chair of Health and Welfare Committee.
 
Supporters of the bill said they think letting the woman know more about an abortion before they get one expands their rights and allows women to make an informed decision.
 
Since Kentucky doctors already perform ultrasounds before abortions, this bill would just force the doctor to tell the patient what they are seeing and allow the images to be viewed.  On Thursday, Senator Westerfield recounted a story of one of his friends who got an abortion.
 
"The technician, when she got an abortion many years ago, didn't bother to let her see it and when she asked to see, the nurse said ‘it's best that we don't go down that road. It’s best that we not,’” said Sen. Westerfield.
 
The bill would require women to get a description of the fetus, including details like its size and the internal development of organs. The woman would not have to look at the ultrasound, they would just have to listen.
 
Supporters said they have hope the bill will finally have a chance in the House and they think if more people understood the seriousness of the procedure--they would back this bill regardless of their stance.
 
The committee will likely hear the bill within the next few days.
 

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