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Democrats walk out of hearing on legislation for nonviable pregnancies

via WHAS 11
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A bill was proposed in the Kentucky legislature to expand access to prenatal and newborn palliative care services for pregnant women carrying nonviable fetuses expected to die shortly before or after birth.

The state bans abortion in such cases. Democrats on the health committee walked out during consideration of the bill, arguing it was intended to promote continuing nonviable pregnancies to term rather than truly expand care options for families.

Supporters said the bill would increase compassionate care and support for families dealing with a life-limiting fetal diagnosis.

Opponents saw it as an attempt to grant personhood to embryos and fetuses, and said while continuing pregnancies is an option some choose, abortion should also be available as not all families find that best.

After Republicans approved the bill, Democrats said it was meant as a political statement and did not actually expand options, which they said should include abortion.

“This is not about comforting bereaved parents, as it should be,” Rep. Lindsey Burke said. “It’s about making a political statement, and they’re not going to do that on my back.”

“No matter how extreme an anomaly can be, sometimes just to say hello by holding your child means everything,” she said. “And families should have that opportunity to make those choices.”

“You can’t say goodbye until you’ve said hello,” she added.

“This is coercive,” said Tamarra Wieder, the Kentucky state director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “It’s stigmatizing. And it’s at a time when parents are most vulnerable.”

“I think this is a very compassionate piece of legislation,” Republican state Rep. Nancy Tate said. “It gives us the opportunity to support women and their families –- physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and financially.”

“This bill simply provides the same solutions that are already available, while shaming parents who make difficult decisions,” Burke said.

“We were simply talking about providing supports for families who have a really devastating diagnosis that they’re dealing with,” Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser said. “And this is really just a way to provide support to them. So I was a little confused about why they would walk out.”

The bill now moves to the full House for further consideration.

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