Informed consent passes Senate; first bill to go to Gov. Bevin's desk

02/01/2016 07:23 PM

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky State Senate gave final approval to Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, which allows real-time video consultations between doctors and women as an option to fulfill “informed consent” requirements before an abortion takes place.

The House amended bill passed by a 33 to 5 vote, with Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, Sen. Denise Harper-Angel, D-Louisville, Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, and Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, casting the five opposition votes.

Backers of the House amendment said the telemedicine provision would eliminate the burden of women having to make an extra trip to a clinic that provides abortions.

Raque Adams credits House Republicans for getting overwhelming bi-partisan support for the legislation in their chamber.

“The House Republicans were very tenacious in their reading of the statute and where the amendment was placed and there were even corrections that were made afterwards,” Raque Adams said.

House Minority Floor Leader, Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, expressed his happiness for the final passage of the legislation in a statement.

“I can’t begin to express the level of my happiness and appreciation for members of both the House and Senate in their efforts to work to find consensus on a pro-life bill that is so important to so many Kentuckians,” Hoover said. “Members of the General Assembly have done their part to advance the bill to the Governor to be signed into law, and I look forward to that historic day.”

Raque Adams said that the passage of SB 4 made it a good day for women’s health in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“It allows women to get the medical information that is necessary for them to make an informed decision about a procedure,” Raque Adams said. “The fact that we have not had that until now is, quite honestly, unacceptable.”

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said it was a victory for the unborn.

“We will give voice to them who cannot speak for themselves,” Thayer said. “Today I vote aye in memory of the millions of babies who have been aborted in this country since the shameful day in the 1970’s when Roe vs. Wade was adopted by the United States Supreme Court.”

Sen. Reggie Thomas feels that the legislation is unnecessary.

“It is obvious these women understand, given their age and education, what it means to be pregnant,” Thomas said. “To require these women to have a conference … to explain the obvious is just ridiculous. I see no reason, no purpose, for this legislation.”

Derek Selznick, of American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project Director, fired back against the bill, and urged Bevin to veto the legislation.

“This afternoon the Kentucky General Assembly – a body which increasingly decries ‘big government’ – placed itself firmly in between Kentucky women and their medical care providers,” he said. “Instead of respecting and protecting the rights of women in the Commonwealth to consult with a medical professional privately and on their own terms, lawmakers are now dictating care and medical advice from Frankfort.

“Some have said the addition of a telehealth option in the bill makes this legislation neutral and non-burdensome that is incorrect,” Selznick continued. “We know through the work on KentuckyWired that thousands of Kentucky families don’t have ready access to high-speed internet necessary to use live, real-time communication services like Skype. While we do not anticipate Governor Bevin will veto SB 4, he would be wise to do so as this legislation is opening a door to unprecedented government meddling in personal health consultation.”

The bill now goes to Bevin’s desk for his signature.


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