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Kentucky attorney general can be proactive in abortion cases under cleared House bill

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

With little discussion, a House bill allowing the Kentucky Attorney General to be proactive in cases involving abortion clinics passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, explained the measure to the panel.

Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, far right, testifies to a Senate committee about a House bill that would allow the attorney general to be proactive in abortion cases. (KET screen capture)

“In short, what this bill is intended to do, is allow the Attorney General to step in and act like a special prosecutor, like his office does all over the state, to do that in the context of enforcing certain abortion laws that have been passed by the General Assembly.”

One change, explained by Deputy Attorney General Barry Dunn, “Would allow the Attorney General to enforce the abortion laws during any emergency orders the governor may issue, as it related to elective medical procedures.”

The bill passed without dissent and now heads to the Senate floor. If approved by the full Senate, the bill would have to return to the House for concurrence in the Senate committee changes.

Texas and Ohio lawmakers are moving to ban most abortions during the coronavirus outbreak, saying they don’t qualify as essential surgeries.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that the order issued over the weekend by Gov. Greg Abbott barred “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

Failure to comply with the order can result in penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time, Paxton said.

In Ohio, abortion clinics received letters last Friday from Attorney General Dave Yost ordering them to cease all “non-essential” surgical abortions. Yost wrote that the procedures violate a March 17 order issued by the state health director.

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