A bill that would penalize physicians who do not administer ultrasounds prior to performing abortions cleared the state Senate Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, also amends Kentucky’s existing informed-consent law to require doctors to describe what is seen in the ultrasound to the patient.
Westerfield argued the bill, like a previous measure that passed the Senate this session mandating face-to-face consultations before an abortion, is about giving women more information.
"It's a life and if ever we were ever going to have all the information to make that best decision, this is a time to do that, to take every precaution," he told the full Senate.
Fayette Sen. Reggie Thomas, one of five nay votes, reiterated his charge that SB8 targets women’s constitutional rights.
"We have to get away from this Scarlet Letter mentality that we see in the Senate. We want to brand a woman with an 'A' because of decisions that she makes," Thomas repeated.
While the bill does contain an exemption for emergencies, it does not have an exception in the case of rape.
The bill emerged from the Senate with a vote of 33 to 5, but will likely face opposition in the House, where similar measures have been defeated.