One of the most popular pages on the KRLA website is the one that has Abortion Statistics. Addia Wuchner, KRLA executive director, is in the process of updating some features. These will be reported when completed.
The reports on the KRLA website are provided by Donna Durning and a team of sidewalk counselors. They faithfully minister outside the EMW clinic each day it is open for business, counseling any women who will receive a pamphlet or exchange words, and counting the number who enter the clinic.
Their reports note that Kentucky’s 24-hour consent law means that some of the women may visit two or more times for one abortion. However, the EMW website says: “The State of Kentucky requires a face-to-face consent 24 hours before your procedure. This consent can take place in-person at EMW or by video consent via your computer or smartphone.” In other words, EMW starts counting the 24-hours if the woman shows up online for the video conference.
You may wonder how accurate the sidewalk counselors’ abortion statistics reports are. They are close.
In the bench trial to determine whether Transfer Agreements were needed, the Clinic owner shared statistics that were close to the pro-life team’s. Dr. Ernest Marshall noted that about 3,000 abortions were done yearly.
The most recent Ky Annual Abortion Statistics Report reveals that there were 3,021 abortions of Ky women, along with 318 who came from Indiana, 236 from Tennessee, 38 from Ohio, 22 from W. Va., and 29 from 15 other states. In full, 3,664 abortions were performed in Ky in 2019. Of that number, 19 were done in local hospitals. The sidewalk team report for 2019 was 3,978.
The 2019 report is the most current official one that we may view online. By law the Vital Statistics Branch issues a public report with statistics on all data collected for the PREVIOUS calendar year, by Sept. 30 of each year.
Legislation affecting abortion statistics
In 2020 a single bill with pro-life language passed, and was not vetoed. SB 102, sponsored by Senators Robby Mills, Ralph Alvarado and C.B. Embry, requires that abortions be termed abortion, not stillbirth or termination of pregnancy, and that clinics and private hospitals report each abortion, regardless of the length of gestation, within 15 days after the end of each month in which the abortion occurred, to the Vital Statistics Branch.
There are penalties for late reporting. The woman’s name is never recorded nor is any man’s name nor the physician’s. As well, each prescription issued for RU-486 or other abortion medications must be reported to Vital Statistics within 15 days and without any identifying data.
As stated on the Vital Statistics abortion statistics web page, “The name of the person completing the report and the reporting institution are not subject to disclosure under KRS 61.870 to 61.884.” To the best of our understanding, in the future we will know the number of abortions performed or chemically induced, but not the institution names.
Trust But Verify is always a good rule. To that end, HB103 has been filed by Rep. Joe Fischer with 14 Republican co-sponsors to require the Department of Vital Statistics Report to include verification of compliance with the certification requirement of KRS 311.727 and to specify that the Auditor of Public Accounts shall function as a health oversight agency for the purpose of performing the audit. Read more.
With a preponderance of medical (chemical) abortions reported in 2019 —1845 out of 3664– it may be that the new requirement to report abortion pill prescriptions will bring to light greater numbers of these and any pharmacies that cooperate with out-of-state telemed abortion providers.
Ky has a law that an abortion must be done in person, not via telehealth programs, but this was overridden for a time in 2020. See related article.
Since SB 120 only passed last spring, at about the same time the Planned Parenthood clinic opened, the 2019 report has only EMW and private hospital statistics.
In it we see that University Hospital performed seven abortions. Ky Law states: Public agency funds shall not be used for the purpose of obtaining an abortion or paying for the performance of an abortion. So, we assume these seven were private-pays or to save the life of the mother. Norton Hospital performed eight and Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital performed four. EMW performed 3,645.
According to the 2019 Report, eight abortions were classified as “Termination Necessary.” But 1,745 were classified as Termination Necessary Status “unknown.” Of the Total Number, 1,911 were categorized as NOT necessary. This is hard to understand.
Ky Law states: No abortion shall be performed except by a physician after either: (a) He determines that, in his best clinical judgment, the abortion is necessary; or (b) He receives what he reasonably believes to be a written statement signed by another physician, hereinafter called the ‘referring physician,’ certifying that in the referring physician’s best clinical judgment the abortion is necessary, and, in addition, he receives a copy of the report form required by KRS 213.055. This statute has been in effect since 1982, but in 1990, during the administration of Wallace Wilkinson (D), the requirement for the report form was dropped.
Thank you, Sidewalk Team, for your dedication and love for unborn babies and their moms. You are our healthcare heroines.