The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee voted down two similar bills Thursday that would require ultrasounds for women seeking abortions and penalize doctors who don’t comply.
The committee also rejected a measure requiring women to meet in person with their doctor before having an abortion. They were each rejected along party-line votes.
Derek Selznick is executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky’s Reproductive Freedom Project. He says the mandatory ultrasounds would be traumatic to a woman who conceived a child after being raped.
“While a doctor or somebody is actually holding a transvaginal wand inside of a woman and must explain what they’re seeing on the screen,” Selznick says. “And that, you know, for, once again, for a woman who’s been raped, that is just adding trauma to that experience.”
Michael Janocik with the Kentucky Right-to-Life Association says one measure contains language permitting exemptions in case of a medical emergency, though rape is not explicitly listed as one of them.
“What this bill would require them to do is share the information on the screen with the woman,” Janocik says.
A handful of other anti-abortion bills are still circulating through the legislature, but with about 10 days left in the session, it remains to be seen how much progress they will make.