UPDATE: Ky. Abortion bills move to governor’s desk within first few days of session

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–UPDATE SATURDAY, JAN. 9–

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky lawmakers have given final approval to a bill giving the state’s anti-abortion attorney general new power to regulate abortion clinics.

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The Senate voted 30-5 Saturday to send the measure to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. The governor vetoed similar legislation in 2020.

Last year, lawmakers didn’t have a chance to consider an override. They’ll have ample time to consider overriding this year’s measure.

The abortion proposal that passed Saturday would give Attorney General Daniel Cameron the power to seek civil and criminal penalties for any violation of Kentucky’s abortion laws.

— ORIGINAL STORY POSTED FRIDAY, JAN. 8 —

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – In the Kentucky Statehouse, several bills are on the fast track during this shortened legislative session and that includes two about abortion.

One of those, House Bill Two, would give the attorney general more control.

Republican Senate President, Robert Stivers, of Manchester, advocating for the unborn in Friday afternoon’s judiciary committee discussing HB 2.

“That child in the womb is a person and can’t speak and somebody needs to speak for it,” he said.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are used to speaking against anti-abortion bills at the Capitol and did so again Friday before legislators.

“We don’t think that the government should force anyone to stay pregnant against their will,” Jackie McGranahan, a Kentucky ACLU policy strategist said.

The bill would allow the attorney general to enforce abortion laws, like no abortion should be performed after 20 weeks from conception.

“This bill will give him the opportunity to protect and defend these otherwise defenseless children,” said Republican Rep. Joseph Fischer, of Ft. Thomas, the bill’s sponsor.

Kentucky Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates Tamarra Wieder says there’s no reason for this bill other than politics between a Republican led legislature and a Democratic governor.

“It’s purely a political bill. It’s designed to take power away from the experts in the Cabinet of Health and Family Services and give it to a politicized position, a lawyer, with no medical background,” she said.

Those in favor of HB 2 say it simply allows more oversight.

The bill also includes language that would restrict something Governor Beshear allowed during the pandemic. Abortions would no longer be considered an emergency procedure, instead considered an elective procedure.

Weider says it’s disheartening abortion bills are at the top of the legislative session in a pandemic.

“We have been in sessions for four days, and I have yet to hear anything about how to keep Kentucky healthy during a pandemic and I really want to stress that these bills aren’t doing anything to protect people during COVID, they’re just making healthcare more inaccessible,” Wieder said.

Despite this, HB 2 is expected to pass and head to the governor’s desk Saturday.

Another abortion related bill, Senate Bill 9, passed the House Friday.

It’s also referred to as the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, vetoed by Gov. Beshear in 2020. It sets to make it a requirement for providers to try and resesitate a prematurely born baby.

Something, an OBGYN testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Friday, Dr. Bittany Myers, argued the bill isn’t reasonable because providers always try and save a baby if possible and said the bill does more harm than good.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com