The 2020 Regular Session adjourned just before midnight last Wednesday, more than four months after convening in January and six weeks after COVID-19 altered so much about the world as we knew it.
Without a doubt, our lives have been irrevocably changed and disrupted as our public health officials work to flatten the curve and fight COVID-19. The House of Representatives had to change our way of doing business, and we took the unprecedented step of voting remotely to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines. However, even with so many aspects of our lives changing rapidly, one thing has remained the same. No matter what circumstance we face, the Kentucky General Assembly continues to fight and defend the right to life.
On the last day of the 2020 Session, the House approved Senate Bill 9, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This pro-life legislation has several sections that define how our state abortion clinics will operate. However, the core of this bill mandates that any baby born alive after a botched abortion will receive proper medical care. Health care workers will be required to provide life-saving medical attention to newborns born under this circumstance.
I believe that it is our duty as elected officials to take every step possible to ensure that all babies are protected. The bill gives these babies the same protections under the law as any other person in the Commonwealth. Any provider who willfully withholds care from an infant born from a failed abortion could be charged with a felony.
The second important tenet of this legislation removes power from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and gives our state’s attorney general, the authority to oversee abortion clinicsto ensure they are acting legally under regulations. It only makes sense that publicly elected officials, and not government bureaucrats, would have the power to regulate an industry that is responsible for the loss of thousands of babies each year. I feel confident that our current pro-life attorney general will succeed with this responsibility.
Finally, and perhaps most timely given our current pandemic, this bill dictates that abortions are elective, non-essential medical procedures. He reasoned that elective medical procedures require the use of PPE, or personal protective equipment, which is needed to fight the outbreak. However, theGovernor has refused to deem abortions as elective procedures, not only saving lives but also freeing up valuable personal protective equipment to be used in COVID-19.
This stance is not only contradictory but extremely disturbing and troubling. We should be taking every step to preserve scarce medical equipment, and not wasting it on the destruction of innocent lives. The Governor and the abortion clinics cannot have it both ways. They cannot halt elective procedures that will ease pain and improve the health of patients, while still using PPE to preform harmful abortions.
Every day, medical personnel are furloughed because of a lack of resources due to the stoppage of medical procedures. It’s disingenuous for the Governor to allow abortions to continue while our hard-working medical professionals are dealing with forced layoffs.
I was proud to join my colleagues in addressing these discrepancies through Senate Bill 9. Everyone must be held to the same standard, and this bill does exactly that. This General Assembly has been called one of the most pro-life bodies that the state has ever seen, and I am proud that we continued this trend up until the very end of this session.
Rep. Chris Freeland, represents the 6th District, which includes Lyon, Marshall and part of McCracken County.