Advocates yelled “abortion is health care” from the Senate gallery in attempt to stop Senate proceedings and stall the passage of HB 3, a massive package of anti-abortion policies that would end safe and legal abortion
Frankfort, KY — Today, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates (PPAA), the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY), and other reproductive health advocates condemned the Kentucky Senate for advancing (29-0) House Bill 3, a 60+ page omnibus package of anti-abortion policies so extreme that no abortion health center in the state would be able to comply with the bill’s restrictions. On top of this long list of onerous restrictions, the bill was amended on the Senate floor to include a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, making the bill even more cruel and dangerous for Kentuckians. If HB 3 becomes law, it would end access to the constitutionally protected right to abortion care for at least one million people of reproductive age across the state immediately upon enactment.
Abortion advocates made their way to Frankfort in attempt to hold legislators accountable, saying “if legislators won’t hear their constituents, then constituents will make themselves heard.” Abortion is not only a critical component in health care, but of a person’s ability to lead a free and fulfilling life with dignity and autonomy. HB 3 will force Kentuckians looking for abortion care to travel out of state to access this constitutionally protected care—including survivors of rape and incest.
In solidarity with patients and reproductive health advocates, seven Democratic Senators refused to validate the anti-abortion legislation with a vote and walked out in protest of its advancement, including Karen Berg (D-26), Denise Harper Angel (D-35), Morgan McGarvey (D-19), Gerald Neal (D-33), Reginald Thomas (D-13), Robin Webb (D-18), and David Yates (D-37). The bill will now return to the House for concurrence before being sent to Governor Beshear.
Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates (PPAA):
“The walls are closing in on safe and legal abortion care in the commonwealth and across this country. This threat to legal abortion needs to be widely known: our health care, our rights, and our freedom are on the line,” said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for PPAA. “HB 3 is designed to punish patients and providers by criminalizing health care and inserting politics into medicine. It will force people to travel out of state for care, and those without the means to travel will be forced to remain pregnant against their will. This is not what the majority of Kentuckians want. This bill is anti-democratic, unconstitutional, and downright dangerous. It must not become law.”
Forty-one states have introduced bills to restrict abortion across the country this year. HB 3 combines some of the most egregious attacks into a laundry list of onerous and irresponsible requirements for abortion providers and patients. The key components of the bill include:
Restricting access to safe, effective medication abortion, ignoring current medical and scientific guidance;
Publishing the names of all physicians that provide medication abortion and creating a state-run “complaint portal” that would allow any member of the public to submit anonymous complaints about abortion providers, opening them up to increased harassment from anti-abortion extremists;
Creating a redundant and onerous FDA-like certification program under the state that targets medication abortion drugs and would require drug manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies, and abortion facilities to register and certify with the state - an unprecedented oversight of a drug regimen with a proven safety record;
Undermining the judicial bypass process for minors who are seeking an abortion by adding a waiting period for some youth and creating administrative requirements that will be impossible for some youth to fulfill;
Prohibiting health care facilities from safely and respectfully handling fetal remains in accordance with accepted medical standards and practice;
Requiring the state to promote the fraudulent idea that medication abortion can be reversed;
Expanding existing restrictions that prohibit public funding from being given to any institution that performs, refers for, or counsels about abortions; and
Banning abortion starting at 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, imitating a Mississippi abortion ban that is still undergoing legal review.
HB 3 does nothing to improve patient care or outcomes and would instead exacerbate existing reproductive health care disparities. If Kentucky institutes a total abortion ban, experts predict we would see a 21 percent increase the number of pregnancy-related deaths and a 33 percent increase among Black women. The maternal mortality rate in Kentucky is already more than double the national average, killing Black women at a rate three to four times higher than non-Hispanic white women.
We need everyone in this fight to protect abortion access. Right now, abortion is still safe and legal in Kentucky and Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting to keep it that way.
Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Serving AK, HI, ID, IN, KY, WA (PPAA) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policymakers about reproductive health issues in Alaska, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky and Washington. PPAA lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission, and engages in limited electoral activities.