Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signs bill changing abortion law - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signs bill changing abortion law

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill changing abortion laws in Kentucky.

The first bill to clear the 2016 legislature brings back a 40-year-old debate. It tweaks Kentucky's informed consent law to require a woman to meet in person or by video with a physician before terminating a pregnancy. 

"The main reason to have the bill is so a woman isn't just ushered in and out to have an abortion," said Margie Montgomery of Kentucky Right to Life. 

"That's just one more barrier and one more burden to what is the constitutional right of women," said Betty Cockrum President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana.

State law already requires women to meet with a doctor 24 hours before the procedure to cover risks and other options. Supporters say some physicians got around the rule allowing patients to listen to a phone message.

Lawmakers fought over the language for more than decade. It passed Monday with bi-partisan support. 

"It just goes to show that elections have consequences," said Sen. Damon Thayer, Republican majority leader. "We have 46 Republicans in the House who were able to force a vote on the House floor and we have a Republican governor who is going to sign it."

The shift in Frankfort concerns groups like Planned Parenthood. Its license to open only the second abortion clinic in all of Kentucky is in limbo -- and the state is also considering a measure that would strip state funding from abortion providers.

"We all wish to reduce the number of abortions and the way you do that is with education and family planning," said Cockrum. "You don't do that with barriers and you don't add danger and risk to women."

The EMW surgical center in Louisville is the state's only licensed abortion clinic. The staff says the change will unfairly impact women in rural communities, and force patients to other states. 

It's been forty years since Rowe vs. Wade and the debate rages-on.

"It a huge victory for the unborn and for life and for those of us who believe that life begins at conception," Thayer said.

"People don't come in here with blinders on," said the clinic director of EMW Women's Surgical Center. "This is the choice. When people talk about women needing to have a choice, this is the choice."

Next up for pro-life advocates is a bill that would strip state funding from all abortion providers. It's expected to get a vote in the Senate today. If passed, it would then head on to the House. 

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