Kentucky Senate passes bill requiring 24-hour forced delay before woman can have an abortion

Sen. Seum: Abortion legislation considers only women’s rights, not “daddies’ rights”

FRANKFORT – Senate Bill 4 -- a bill that mandates an in-person counseling session between a woman and her physician 24 hours before an abortion procedure, even in cases of rape or incest -- passed the Kentucky Senate Friday, January 9 by a vote of 30-5.

Existing Kentucky law already requires a woman to receive state-directed counseling before an abortion. Under the SB 4, this forced-delay period requiring an in-person counseling session necessitates two separate trips by women to see doctors before the procedure can be done.

“The Senate vote today is disappointing but not unexpected,” said Derek Selznick, director of the Reproductive Freedom Project Director for the ACLU of Kentucky. “We hope to fare much better in the Kentucky House when this issue is taken up in that body when the General Assembly reconvenes on Feb. 3."

In voting for SB 4 today and in comments he made yesterday in the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee, Sen. Dan “Malano” Seum (R-Fairdale) complained that abortion legislation does not provide rights to men.

During today’s Senate session, Sen. Seum stated that “we never include daddies’ rights,” just women’s rights, when considering abortion legislation. At yesterday’s committee meeting, Sen. Seum stated: “I think it's absolutely appalling that it's only the woman's decision. We never include the man or the father.”

“Sen. Seum’s comments are not only insensitive to Kentucky women, they are also offensive and outrageous, especially in those cases involving rape and incest,” Selznick said.

Since 2001, Kentucky physicians have been permitted to utilize telemedicine, which allows doctors to communicate with their patients about medical issues by telephone, including advising patients about the risks associated with medication or surgery. However, SB 4 expressly prohibits the use of telemedicine in abortion procedures.

“SB 4 is legislation designed to make it more difficult and more onerous on women to get an abortion in Kentucky,” Selznick said. “This bill replaces consent with coercion.”

The five senators who voted against SB 4 were Denise Harper Angel, Reginald Thomas, Gerald A. Neal, Perry B. Clark, and Morgan McGarvey.

Sen. Angel said SB 4 was “an annual assault on a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions,” adding that “politics does not belong in the examination room.”

Sen. Thomas called the bill “another guilt trip that we want to impose on women in our society.”