Politics

After Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned two abortion restrictions in Texas, a Kentucky lawmaker said he’s considering proposing a similar measure again during next year’s General Assembly.

London Republican Sen. Albert Robinson proposed a similar bill during this year’s session that would have required Kentucky abortion providers meet stricter regulations and have a health care practitioner obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 50 miles of the facility.

Robinson said that while he would “like to shut every abortion clinic down,” his proposal is intended to make the procedure safer rather than restrict them.

“It’s a known fact that they’re going to take that baby in there and slaughter it and kill it, but at least let’s let the mother have a decent place to have this done,” he said.

albert robinsonCourtesy Kentucky Senate GOP

Robinson said he would still have to review the Supreme Court’s decision before filing the legislation again.

Under his previous proposal, abortion providers would have to meet the licensure requirements of ambulatory surgical centers — regulations that range from requirements for building layout to medical devices.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ ambulatory surgical center requirement for abortion providers as well as the state’s provision for doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

In the 5-3 ruling, the court said the policies put an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions in the state. The number of abortion clinics in Texas declined from about 40 in 2013 — the year the new abortion regulations took effect — to 20 this year.

Robinson said the ruling should “awaken” abortion opponents to vote for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.

“I’m not as much an admirer of Donald Trump as some, but I am saying unless we get him in there, we’re going to lose these [cases],” Robinson said. “He will put courts in there that will stop this.”

Robinson said under a Republican president and more conservative Supreme Court, proposals like his might be able to challenge the current ruling.

Kentucky has three abortion clinics — two of which have suspended services amid lawsuits from Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration over the validity of the facilities’ licenses.

Joe Dunman, a civil rights attorney at Clay Daniel Walton and Adams in Louisville, said the ruling would have no effect on those lawsuits or any current laws in Kentucky, but it might on future policies that restrict abortions.

“Clinics now have a new tool to defend themselves from attack or to challenge the laws that regulate them,” Dunman said. “This new case provides a lot of great language about what the actual standard is to determine constitutionality and also how laws burden women.”

Bevin is suing both EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky in Louisville for allegedly performing abortions without a license.

In a statement released after the Supreme Court ruling, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky President Betty Cockrum said the decision is encouraging.

“Abortion providers are often the target of unfair legislation, and we’re no exception,” Cockrum said. “It’s a major victory for the Supreme Court to acknowledge that such legislation interferes with women’s legal right to abortion, and sets a good precedent for our work in Indiana and Kentucky.”

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.