FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky clergy members, reproductive health advocates, patients and doctors gathered today in the Capitol building to oppose SB 9, a proposed “heartbeat” bill.
“It’s the first week of session, the second week of the new year, and already we are fighting legislation that would strip Kentuckians of their right to access safe and legal health care,” said Tamarra Wieder, public affairs and policy director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky. “I call on our legislators to do better and focus on combatting our health crisis, not this dangerous effort to control our bodies.”
SB 9, modeled on other anti-abortion bills that have been proposed across the country, would ban abortion after fetal heart tones can be detected. The ban would take place at about six weeks of pregnancy before many may know that they are pregnant.
“As a physician, I have a legal, professional, and ethical obligation to provide my patients with evidence-based, compassionate care,” said Dr. Nicole Nolan, an OB-GYN resident in Louisville. “However, it is becoming increasingly harder in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for me to provide that care to my patients who desire an abortion.”
Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar Ohio bill in December 2018. In May 2018, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a “heartbeat” bill into law in Ohio - where it remains blocked by the courts as it faces a constitutional challenge.
Speakers at today’s Reproductive Freedom news conference included:
· Kate Miller, ACLU of Kentucky advocacy director
· Tamarra Wieder, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky public affairs and policy director
· Dr. Nicole Nolan, OB-GYN resident at the University of Louisville
· Rev. Derek Penwell, Concerned Clergy for Choice-Kentucky
· Katie Vandergrift, patient advocate