Kentucky abortion bill would require face-to-face meeting with doctor

Jan. 23, 2014 at 4:10 PM

FRANKFURT, Ky., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A bill that would require women to have face-to-face consultations with a doctor before an abortion has passed the Kentucky Senate, officials say.

The bill passed in a bipartisan 33-5 vote, with Democrats opposed to the bill charging it was an attempt to shame women seeking to end a pregnancy, the (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported Thursday.

Supporters said the bill would promote "informed consent," but Sen. Reginald Thomas, a Democrat who opposed the bill, called it "a guilt trip we want to impose upon women."

"We want to engage in humiliation and embarrassment and shaming them because of their decision, which they have a constitutional private right to do," he said.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, said it was "simply common sense" to require a woman to personally meet with a physician 24 hours before the procedure to ensure she "has a meaningful opportunity to consider information before going forward."

Derek Selznick, an official with the American Civil Liberties Union, questioned why women were being singled out when Kentucky was working to develop technology that allow remote healthcare consultations over the phone or Internet.

"I think what they are really trying to do is make it harder and more inaccessible to get an abortion," he said.

Kentucky has only two abortion clinics, one in Louisville and the other in Lexington.

A number of anti-abortion bills have passed the Kentucky House in recent years, only to die in the Democratic-controlled House.

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