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Lawmaker files ‘omnibus’ anti-abortion bill in Kentucky

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Jess Clark
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A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a sweeping omnibus bill that would make it harder for minors to get access to abortions, limit physicians’ ability to prescribe abortion medication and further restrict public funding for abortion procedures, referrals and counseling. 

Republican Rep. Nancy Tate of Brandenburg filed the 60-page House Bill 3 Thursday. She outlined the bill’s provisions during a press conference in October

The bill would require abortion providers to seek out permission from both parents to sign off on the procedure create a higher standard for judges to approve it without parental consent.

Right now, state law requires at least one parent or guardian to sign off if a minor is seeking an abortion. The new proposal would require providers to make a “reasonable attempt” to reach both parents or guardians. 

In a news release, Tate said parents should have more control over the process.

“As a parent and grandparent, it’s hard to absorb the fact that children as young as 13 are undergoing an abortion with minimal consideration for their long-term mental or physical health,” Tate said. “We owe it to these children to ensure their best interests are considered when these life-altering medical decisions are made.”

Minors seeking abortions in Kentucky are currently allowed to seek a “judicial bypass,” which allows judges to approve the procedure without parental consent.

But the proposal would create new standards for that process, requiring judges to consider the minor’s “age, stability, credibility, demeanor, ability to assess responsibility for life-impacting consequences, the reason for needing an abortion, and the possibility of influence and pressure, as well as confirming that the pregnancy is not a result of abuse by the parent or guardian,” according to the release.

The bill would also make it harder for doctors to prescribe abortion medication and require the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy to establish a complaint portal to allow medical professionals and members of the public to report potential violations. 

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Credit LRC Public Information
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Kentucky state Rep. Nancy Tate (R-Brandenburg)

The portal would publish a list of pharmacies, manufacturers distributors and physicians certified with the Kentucky Abortion-Inducing Drug Certification Program, and create a new protocol for disposing of fetal tissue.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Kentucky called the measure “a laundry list of onerous and irresponsible requirements.”

The group also criticized a part of the bill that requires providers to inform patients about “abortion reversals,” an ineffective and potentially harmful procedure.

Tamarra Wieder, the director for Planned Parenthood’s advocacy group in Kentucky, said lawmakers are undermining the health care system with “junk science and medical misinformation.

“HB 3 is not only unconstitutional, but irresponsible and out of step with what Kentuckians want: access to medically accurate information and essential medical procedures like abortion,” Wieder wrote in a statement.

The bill comes ahead of a state Constitutional amendment voters will consider during the November election that could further strip abortion protections in the state. 

The amendment’s language reads, in part, “nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

This story has been updated.

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