FRANKFORT--A bill that would outlaw abortion from the moment of fertilization for most women in Kentucky if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade has cleared the state House.
The "Human Life Protection Act" or House Bill 148, sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas and Rep. Nancy Tate, R-Brandenburg, passed the House on a vote of 69-20. Should it become law, it would take effect immediately if Roe v. Wade--a landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide--be overturned, said Fischer.
"HB 148 (will) provide full legal protection to every unborn child in Kentucky from the moment of fertilization to childbirth only if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade or the Constitution is amended to restore authority to any state to prohibit abortion," said Fischer.
Fischer said HB 148 would ban abortion procedures in Kentucky from the earliest stage of pregnancy through childbirth except when required to save the mother's life. An abortion provider who violates the bill, if it becomes law, could face felony charges.
HB 148 would not allow prosecution for an unintentional abortion that occurs in the course of medical treatment of the mother, and would not allow prosecution of a woman who has agreed to abortion, said Fischer. And it would allow prescribing of the so-called "morning after pill" for emergency contraception since, Fischer said, that medication would be taken "before there is knowledge of any pregnancy."
Speaking against the bill was Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, who said HB 148 is designed to trigger state legislative action should action be taken at the federal constitutional level.
"It does nothing to advance any policy objectives," said Minter. "We should not be in the business of passing a bill now that may or may not be valid, depending on what might or might not get handed down by the Supreme Court."
Rep. Tate advocated for the bill by telling her colleagues of her childhood when her parents struggled to raise a growing family on as little as $230 per month. "Challenges," she said, should not be seen as "hardships."
"I look at (challenges) as opportunities to grow as a person, to aspire to greatness, and to use our God-given talent--and my God-given talent--as a woman," said Tate.
Four states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed laws similar to HB 148, Fischer said.
HB 148 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.