Proposed legislation aims to defund Planned Parenthood in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky lawmakers are expected to propose legislation in the 2016 General Assembly that would prohibit the use of public resources for abortion services.

No state money is used to fund abortions in Kentucky. However, state funds are used for other services at Planned Parenthood, such as abortion referrals.

The legislation would prohibit using public resources in “providing abortions, providing referrals to or information about facilities where abortions are performed or individuals who perform abortions; or providing counseling, advice, written materials or other information that encourages or promotes abortion.”

House Minority Caucus Chair Stan Lee is co-sponsoring the legislation.

“The shocking videos that we all saw this past summer they were atrocious,” said Lee. “To think that these kind of atrocities were going on in our country, it’s just unfathomable. This [bill] is just our effort to try to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Neither of the two Planned Parenthood clinics in Kentucky offer abortions.

Anne Ahola, executive director of the only center offering abortions in Kentucky—EMW Women's Surgical—said the center would not be affected by the legislation because it is privately funded.

She declined to say how many abortions were performed at the center this year.

Lee thinks that the legislation has a good chance of passing next year.

“In years past, something like this might have a hard time clearing the House,” he said. “But the ways things have changed in the last little bit, and the opinion of voters on value issues, and the outrage over Planned Parenthood, this probably has a better chance than it would have had in years past.”

During his campaign, Gov. Matt Bevin promised to take executive action to defund Planned Parenthood.

“As Governor, I will direct my secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services not to distribute federal taxpayer dollars from that department to Planned Parenthood clinics,” said Bevin in an August press release.

“Federal taxpayer dollars appropriated to Planned Parenthood flow through the Governor’s administration. As Governor, I will prevent those dollars from being distributed, and order them returned to the federal government.”

Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the state’s largest religious organization, supports the legislation.

"No greater human rights tragedy exists in the world, or in Kentucky, than the daily slaughter of tens of thousands of unborn babies,” Chitwood said.

“The fact that the tax dollars of Christians are used to pay for abortion is unthinkable. That can be stopped in Kentucky and I'm praying that our legislators will exercise the necessary courage to defend the right of conscience for their constituents."

Six states have defunded Planned Parenthood since a series of undercover videos showed a Planned Parenthood worker appearing to negotiate the sale fetal tissue.

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