If Roe v. Wade Overturned, Kentucky House Will Approve Abortion Ban
On Friday, Feb. 15, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill that will ban most statewide abortions if the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned or the Constitution is modified to allow individual states to ban abortion, the Kentucky House will ban the majority of state abortions. The bill was approved by nearly 70 percent of the House.
What the Bill Proposes
The proposal would ban abortions across the state, making it a felony to perform an abortion. Those guilty of performing an abortion would be sentenced to one to five years in prison. Women who received an abortion would not be prosecuted.
The procedure would only be legal when necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life. Prescribing the “morning after” pill, however, would still be legal. If medical procedures resulted in the accidental death of a fetus, there would be no violation of the bill.
What Those Opposed of the Bill Had to Say
Opponents argued that pregnancy-related decisions are personal and complicated, and should be left to the woman to decide.
Abortion-rights activist Annie Prestrud told the committee: “Let me be clear, no matter what law you pass, you will not prevent abortions from happening. But you, each legislator who votes for these laws, will increase the risk to people who choose to have an abortion.”
Referring to the bill as “arrogant” and sanctimonious,” Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville) told the House: “We have no knowledge of what’s going on in the personal, private lives of our citizens.”
Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville) was reprimanded by Speaker Pro-Tempore David Meade (R-Stanford) when he said that two men on the Supreme Court who did not respect women would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
What Those In Favor of the Bill Had to Say
Since the GOP gained jurisdiction of the legislature in 2017, Republicans in Kentucky have fought for anti-abortion legislation.
Rep. Melinda Gibbons-Prunty (R-Belton) called abortion a holocaust, saying that “the holocaust is inside the womb, instead of outside the womb.”
“Abortion is not a divisive issue in this state, the people of Kentucky are overwhelmingly against abortion,” Rep. Joseph Fischer, lead sponsor of the bill, told the committee (R-Ft. Thomas). “House Bill 148 will serve as a message from the people of Kentucky to the Supreme Court and every other state. The message is this: if you allow us to protect life, we will protect all unborn life.”
According to Rep. Nancy Tate (R-Brandenburg) , her mother chose not to have an abortion in spite of her difficult financial situation. She tearfully entreated members to vote for the bill.
“We can end the atrocities that are occurring now, the death of the unborn and the voiceless,” Tate said. “You can proudly say, like the German people were asked after the fall of the Nazi regime, ‘Grandma and Grandpa, where were you when the 61 million … unborn children in your time were being killed by abortion,’ you can proudly say ‘baby, I did everything I could to stop it.’”
Tate thanked those in the chamber who supported the bill: “I want to take this opportunity to thank you for not giving up. You have accepted your role of protector of life well and I encourage you to stay strong.”