Legislative chess makes citizens pawns

Joyce Ostrander Guest columnist

February 24, 2014

Eight out of 138 lawmakers are blocking the will of their colleagues and the will of the people of Kentucky.

When polled, Kentuckians are overwhelmingly pro-life. Each year members of the General Assembly attempt to enact laws that represent the will of the citizens.

This year, Senate Bill 3 and Senate Bill 8 (initiated by Senate Republicans) and House Bill 184 (initiated by a House Democrat) require a woman considering abortion to have an opportunity to choose to see an ultrasound and have a face-to-face consultation before making her decision.

This reasonable legislation would simply make informed consent for an abortion similar to informed consent for other surgical procedures. Women should be protected from an inferior double standard.

The Senate bills have already passed that Chamber with 33 of 38 Senators voting “Yes.” Of the 100 House members, 59 have signed on as co-sponsors of HB 184. That means that this year a more than sufficient majority in each Chamber has indicated it would vote “Yes” to pass ultrasound and face-to-face consultation bills.

However, once again, all these pro-life bills, each having bipartisan support, are being held captive in the House Health and Welfare Committee. House leadership has designed this committee to be a pro-life graveyard, appointing eight of the most liberal representatives in the Chamber to this committee of 15 members, and then sending all of the pro-life bills there. That assures that no pro-life bills will make it out of the committee and onto the House floor for debate and a vote.

History confirms that when these bills are allowed on the House Floor, they pass overwhelmingly. The last pro-life bill allowed onto the Floor was 10 years ago and passed the House 88-5 and the Senate 33-4.

A bill that directly affects human life should not be used as a pawn in a legislative chess game in which legislative leaders try to outsmart the very people they are supposed to represent.

Joyce Ostrander is a policy analyst for The Family Foundation.