Wednesday, March 4, marked the deadline for new bills to be filed in the 2020 Kentucky Legislative Session. At this writing, many pro-life bills including SB90, the Conscience bill, have been mired in amendment quicksand.
Though HB67, the Constitutional Amendment bill, had been posted for passage, it was bogged down by silly amendments. (See related post).
HB391, to require auditing of abortion statistics reports filed (or not filed!) by abortion clinics, was speared by ridiculous and very raunchy amendments filed by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian. (On the positive side, the audit rule only pertains to EMW, since, so far, the C-J reports that Planned Parenthood is not yet performing abortions in Louisville.)
To view the crabby committee hearing on HB391, go here and start the video at about 52 minutes.
In Marzian’s rage attacks, two amendments call for the Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts to audit privately or publicly held corporations including Wal-mart, etc. Five amendments add language such as “Any man who engages in masturbation or ejaculation without the intent of fertilization shall be guilty of a Class D felony.” View these here.
SB90 had been altered by its sponsor Sen. Meredith— See related post. New amendments by Senators Julie Adams and Morgan McGarvey call for further alterations.
The bill as introduced defines “healthcare service” as “medical care provided to any patient at any time over the entire course of treatment” and includes “initial examination; testing; diagnosis; referral; dispensing or administering any drug, medication, or device; psychological therapy or counseling; research; prognosis; therapy; any other care or necessary services performed or provided by any medical practitioner, including but not limited to allied health professionals, paraprofessionals, or employees of healthcare institutions”. Numerous other terms are defined. The bill’s objective is to ensure rights of conscience for healthcare providers, to prevent discrimination against them, and to permit them to seek justice in court if their conscience rights are violated. This bill in part extends the rules/law of current statute 311.800.
Sen. Adams (R-Louisville) wants to delete “psychological therapy or counseling” and the related providers, “psychology and counseling faculty and students,” and “counselors, social workers.”
Sen. McGarvey (D-Louisville) wants the proposed law to extend to some public servants and legislative activity. His Amendment 3 is in part legal protection for whistleblowers but applies conscience rights for some public servants who wish to decline participation in legislative activity for “conscience” reasons. His Amendment 4 retitles SB90 to “AN ACT protecting the exercise of ethics and diversity among members of medical and public service professions.” His Amendment 5 adds protection for some state employees from discrimination and adds their right to seek relief in court. Read more.
HB370, to require dignified treatment of fetal remains, advanced to the House Rules Committee for a second reading.
HB451, like HB391, enforces existing legislation. It grants the Attorney General more latitude in investigating and punishing violations of state laws for abortion clinic licensure. It has advanced to the Rules Committee.
Let’s keep praying for an end to abortion. Be sure to call the Legislative Message Line, 1-800-372-7181, to encourage passage of pro-life bills.