Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 14, 2014

Abortion ultrasound bill heard by committee

FRANKFORT — For the first time, a House committee may hear a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory ultrasound procedure first.

Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, passed the state Senate easily last month on a 33-5 vote. Similar measures passed by the Republican-controlled Senate in the past have died in committee in the Democratically-controlled House, often in the Health and Welfare Committee chaired by Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville.

That’s where Westerfield’s bill has been since it passed the Senate. But Burch said Friday the bill is likely to get a hearing this year.

Thursday, Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas, filed a discharge petition in the House to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Burch then posted the bill in committee and told CNHI News Friday morning that he plans to let the bill be heard.

Later on the House floor, Fischer asked for a vote on his discharge petition but Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, reported the bill had been posted and such a petition was thus not in order.

Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, then moved to suspend House rules and call the bill to the floor “so this body can consider the bill.”

Stumbo said the bill couldn’t be voted on because it had not received any readings on the floor and the constitution requires three readings on separate days before a vote can be taken.

The bill would require a physician to display the images obtained by ultrasound to the woman who would not be prohibited from averting her eyes.


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