Nancy Tate

During presentation of her abortion legislation last week, state Rep. Nancy Tate, R-Brandenburg, listens to a question from the panel.

Opponents of abortion gave state legislators an overview Wednesday of a proposed bill that would strengthen parental-consent requirements, increase abortion-medication rules, require individual cremation of aborted fetuses and let medical providers refuse to do procedures that “violate their conscience.”

Rep. Nancy Tate, R-Brandenburg, told the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection that her “pro-life omnibus bill” will not include exemptions for rape or incest.

“If there’s a human baby that’s created from that tragedy,” Tate said, “then the life of that human baby needs to be treated with dignity and respect as well.”

Addia Wuchner, executive director of the Kentucky Right to Life Association and a former state representative, said the yet-to-be-filed bill will be called the Humanity in Health Care Act.

Kentucky requires consent of one parent or legal guardian or a “judicial bypass” court order, for a minor to obtain an abortion. Tate’s bill would require a parent’s identification to be recorded, and require a physician to sign an affidavit stating that proper parental consent had been given.

While giving a summary of a PowerPoint presentation about the bill, Tate said it also would remove the ability of the physician to delegate the responsibility of obtaining proper parental consent to someone else.

Physicians who knowingly perform an abortion on a minor without following these rules would be subject to discipline by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and could be found guilty of a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. Performing an abortion without knowing that the patient is a minor would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. The bill has no criminal sanctions against the patient.

Tate said the bill would raise standards for a minor to qualify for judicial bypass. Her presentation Wednesday said a judge must find “clear and convincing evidence that the minor is mature, that the abortion is in the best interest of the minor, and that the pregnancy is not a result of abuse by the parent or guardian.”

Further, the judge must ensure the minor is not seeking an abortion due to influence or pressure from an outside source, and would not be allowed to consider a minor’s financial situation as a reason to approve an abortion.

Tamarra Wieder, state director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, told the committee that the bill would make getting parental consent and judicial bypass more difficult. She added that “the vast majority” of teens in Kentucky already involve their parents in their abortion decisions.

“This bill as we heard today would make the already comprehensive judicial bypass process more onerous and prevent many young people from obtaining a court waiver to ensure their access to care, which is directly what this bill is trying to do — to stop young people from accessing abortion,” Wieder said.

She noted that national groups such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics oppose parental-consent laws because they delay access to critical care and threaten the privacy and safety of vulnerable young people.

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