CNA Staff, Jan 13, 2021 / 03:29 pm (CNA).- Lawmakers in Kentucky on Monday sent two pro-life bills to Governor Andy Beshear’s desk, both of which are likely to become law thanks to veto-proof majorities.
House Bill 2 would allow the state attorney general to directly investigate and prosecute abortion facilities for violations of recently enacted state laws, without relying on the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, as is currently the case.
In October 2020, an appeals court upheld several of Kentucky’s regulations on abortion clinics including that abortion facilities to have a transfer agreement with local hospitals, within a certain distance, in case of medical complications that could arise from abortions.
The second bill, Senate Bill 9, would make it illegal for medical professionals to deny medical care to babies born alive during abortions— a goal that has garnered support in several states and on the national level.
SB 9 also provides for born-alive infants to be legally recognized as persons under Kentucky law.
“A physician performing an abortion shall take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant,” the bill reads.
Kentucky Right to Life Association, which has supported the pair of bills, praised lawmakers for making the pro-life legislation a priority.
“We are sincerely grateful both of these important pieces of legislation were included in the 2021 “WEEK 1” House and Senate priorities,” the organization said Jan. 12.
Governor Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that combined the two policies last year. This year, the legislature passed both bills with veto-proof margins. Republicans hold a 3-to-1 supermajority in both chambers of the Kentucky legislature.
During September 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order clarifying existing laws regarding born-alive care, stating that hospitals that refuse to provide medical care to premature babies born during abortions or who have disabilities may be putting their federal funding at risk.
A federal law on the matter, the Born-Alive Infant Abortion Survivors Act, has been introduced several times in Congress, but has failed to become law. The bill stalled in the House of Representatives during 2019-2020 because an insufficient number of members signed a discharge petition which would have triggered a vote on the bill.
The proposed law would not have created any new limit or restriction on access to abortion, but would require that infants born alive after an attempted abortion be given appropriate medical care consistent with that given to a child of the same gestational age born under a different circumstance.
Similarly, lawmakers in Wyoming plan to revisit a legal measure to protect born-alive infants after a measure last year failed.
In March 2020 the Wyoming House of Representatives passed a born-alive bill 44-16 and the Senate passed it by 23-7, but the governor vetoed it.
The new bill, titled “Born alive infant-means of care,” is numbered Senate Filing 34. Its sponsor is State Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, a Republican. As of Jan. 8, she is joined by five other senators and nine state representatives who co-sponsored the legislation, according to the Wyoming legislature’s website.
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