A flurry of pro-life bills is moving through the Kentucky legislature as swiftly as a Midwestern snowstorm in February, bringing alarm to those who believe the choice to carry a baby to term should be left to the pregnant mother and her doctor. For pro-lifers, such bills signal that the unjust season of abortion on demand will soon be over.
The Roe v Wade Trigger Bill (HB 148) would protect unborn life in all cases that do not threaten the mother’s life if the notorious ruling is ever overturned. The Fetal Heartbeat Bill (SB 9) recognizes the detection of a beating heart as the point where a new human being has come into existence and will be protected by law. Both passed in their respective chambers last week.
Opponents of the Roe Trigger Bill paint an ominous picture of women seeking illegal abortions from shady characters that might result in death. Abortion-rights activist Annie Prestrud told the House Judiciary Committee.”Let me be clear, no matter what law you pass, you will not prevent abortions from happening. But you, each legislator who votes for these laws, will increase the risk to people who choose to have an abortion.”
We will hear heart-wrenching cases involving real women in the toughest of circumstances that most of us could never relate to: cases of fetal abnormality discovered late in the pregnancy; fetal demise and the trauma of carrying a lifeless baby; horrific stories of rape. All hard cases indeed. But asserting that legislators will be responsible for women who suffer negligence at the hands of a shady abortionist isn’t justification for maintaining a deliberate wrong perpetrated upon a new and vulnerable human life.
Claire Culwell, who testified on behalf of the Heartbeat Bill, puts a face on this issue. She survived an abortion attempt by her mother more than 30 years ago. “We have names. We have faces. We have stories. We are human. We deserve to have a voice and a chance at life,” Culwell said. Her testimony was moving. And such testimony is moving us to protect the most vulnerable among us via legal protections.
Another bill addressing abortion disclosure requires the reporting of all chemical abortions to the Kentucky Department of Vital Statistics. SB 50, the Chemical Abortion Reporting Act, also requires medical providers who dispense the two-step drug to tell women that if they change their minds after taking the first pill, their initial choice can possibly be reversed.
Retired Murray OB-GYN Dr. Tom Green, shared with me a story of successfully helping two women reverse their abortion via Abortion Pill Reversal (APR). The bill is arguably more about full-disclosure than any abortion restriction. It will be heard in the House Health and Welfare committee this Thursday.
Proponents of abortion-rights are baffled, but they shouldn’t be surprised considering recent remarks by two state governors that expose radical views on the subject. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s defended Virginia’s controversial Repeal Act. “If a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable,” Northam said in a radio interview. “The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians & mother.”
Equal outrage ensued after New York amended its constitution to make abortion an absolute right up until the ninth month of pregnancy. Upon passage of the bill, the New York State Senate chambers erupted in cheers and a standing ovation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a state-wide celebration and ordered the spire topping the World Trade Center to be lit in pink. Since when did abortion become something to be celebrated?
Granting decisions over life and death to a child’s mother and doctor, like Gov. Northam suggested, is no longer abortion. It’s infanticide. Cheering legislation that protects the deliberate termination of a healthy human being in the ninth month, moments before she can take her first breath, should shock us to our core. If any cheering is done, it should be for Kentucky leaders who are working to make the commonwealth a safe and humane place for the unborn.
Richard Nelson is the executive director of the Commonwealth Policy Center.