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Legislative Extras

Defenders of Reproductive Rights Demonstrate at Capitol

Advocates for reproductive rights rallied at the state capitol on Tuesday to oppose legislation moving through the Kentucky General Assembly they contend does more to control women’s bodies than protect their health. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky organized the event.

The legislature has already passed so-called informed consent legislation, which requires women seeking an abortion to have a consultation with a doctor 24 hours before undergoing the procedure. Gov. Matt Bevin signed that bill into law earlier this month.

Lawmakers are also considering other measures that would require women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, restrict public funding for abortion services, and implement additional administrative regulations for abortion providers.

Derek Selznick of the state ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project told those gathered at Tuesday’s rally that the results of these bills would endanger reproductive health opportunities for women.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) Board Chair-Elect Kim Greene added her views of the legislation and how it disrespects women.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville) has taken her support for a woman’s right to choose into a new arena. Her House Bill 396, known as the Viagra Bill, would require men to get a note from their wives before they can get a prescription for an erectile dysfunction drug. Marzian’s proposal has garnered international attention.

Earlier this week a Louisville-based pro-life organization called Sisters for Life announced its support for the state’s lawsuit against PPINK for allegedly providing abortions at a Louisville clinic without a license. The group contends abortion is genocide on African Americans because they allege that Planned Parenthood does more abortions in minority and low-income communities.

At Tuesday’s reproductive rights rally, Chanelle Helm of Stand Up Sunday, which is part of the Black Lives Matter movement in Louisville, said Planned Parenthood locations are crucial to reaching largely underserved populations. She said many minority women have their own concerns about reproductive freedoms.

Dr. Sarah Wallett, a Lexington OB-GYN provider, spoke to remind the audience that even though “abortion is legal in the United States, it has become increasingly inaccessible for women in many parts of the country.” She said she fights every day to “ensure that her patients have access to safe abortion care when they need it.”

Follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for updates throughout the day, and for a recap of the full day’s activities, watch Legislative Update, weeknights at 11 on KET. You can also follow the Kentucky General Assembly on KET’s Legislative Coverage app for your smartphone or tablet.