FRANKFORT, Ky. — A second-trimester abortion procedure known as D & E would be prohibited in Kentucky for most women who are at least 11 weeks into their pregnancy under a bill that has cleared the state House.
House Bill 454 passed the House by a vote of 71-11. It now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
HB 454 would not completely ban abortion at or after 11 weeks but would ban the D & E—or dilation and evacuation—procedure except in medical emergencies. A D & E is described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as an abortion that uses “sharp instrument techniques, but also suction and other instrumentation such as forceps, for evacuation.”
Abortion procedures that would still be allowed in the state should HB 454 pass into law are induction abortion, which uses medication to induce labor, and dilation and curettage (D & C), which uses suction.
HB 454 sponsor Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, said the D & E procedure is used in about 16 percent of abortions performed in Kentucky. The purpose of her bill, she said, is to codify “the state’s valid interest in banning this brutal, intentional dismemberment procedure.”
Intentional violation of the HB 454 would be a Class D felony under the legislation, with an exemption for the pregnant woman on whom the procedure is performed.
One lawmaker voting against the bill was Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, who told the House that similar legislation has already be found unconstitutional in Texas. Marzian said abortion decisions should be left up to a woman and her physician.
“I respect women and their families and their doctors to be able to make a choice about their personal, private medical decisions,” said Marzian.
House Bill 454, which is also sponsored by Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas, is the second bill proposing limits on abortion procedures to make it to the floor of the Kentucky House in a little over a year. Legislation prohibiting abortions in Kentucky at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except when the mother’s life is in danger, passed into law in 2017 under Senate Bill 5.