A bill to outlaw abortion in Kentucky, should the U.S. Supreme Court reverse its 1973 decision to legalize it, has passed the House and now moves to the Senate.
Rep. Joe Fischer, a Fort Thomas Republican who is the sponsor of HB 148, has said he wants Kentucky to have the law in place should the more conservative Supreme Court overturn its Roe v. Wade decision.
The measure drew strong endorsements from lawmakers opposed to abortion, including Rep. Stan Lee, of Lexington, and Melinda Gibbons Prunty, of Greenville, both Republicans.
“I’m honored to stand up and fight for these little ones who can’t fight for themselves,” Lee said.
Prunty said she and her husband have adopted twin grandsons that are “the light of our life.” Their mother, she said, “didn’t choose to kill them, she didn’t want to have them in foster care.”
More General Assembly headlines from Frankfort
Also voting for the bill was House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, a Democrat from Sandy Hook and candidate for governor. Adkins is a member of the “Pro-Life Caucus,” a bipartisan group of legislators who oppose abortion.
But several Democrats objected to passing HB 148 because it is based on something that hasn’t happened; others objected because they support abortion rights.
“This is a bad bill,” said Rep. Tom Burch, a Louisville Democrat. “I don’t think they will repeal Roe v. Wade.”
Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, a Louisville Democrat, agreed.
“We do not know when, we do not know whether, we do not know how the Supreme Court will rule,” Cantrell said.
Others objected to the purpose of the bill, including Mary Lou Marzian, a Louisville Democrat and supporter of abortion rights.
“I voted no, as I always will, when we attempt to tell folks what to do on personal, private, medical decisions,” Marzian said.
Marzian, to protest the bill, filed an amendment to HB 148 to require women of child-bearing years to report monthly to the state whether they are pregnant. It wasn’t accepted, which Marzian had expected, saying she only filed to make a point that the legislature shouldn’t try to control reproductive rights.
Fischer’s bill is described as a “trigger law” because it would take effect only if the Supreme Court reverses its previous stance on abortion.
The House passage of HB 148 comes a day after the Senate passed Senate Bill 9, the “fetal heartbeat” bill, to outlaw abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That about 6 weeks into a pregnancy.
Opponents have said it would effectively eliminate abortion in Kentucky and is clearly unconstitutional. It now goes to the House.