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Abortion providers say Kentucky reporting requirements could ID patients

Abortion rights protesters in downtown Louisville on May 4, 2022.
Ryan Van Velzer
Two months after Kentucky's abortion ban was reinstated, patients are traveling to other states for access. Some of those states could soon lose access.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU worry new abortion reporting requirements could reveal patients' identities, and they're asking the public to submit comments to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services this week.

The changes are part of House Bill 3, the state’s omnibus abortion bill passed in April. The measure requires abortion providers to share with the cabinet patient information including age, race, ethnicity, geographic location and sexually transmitted disease status. 

Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky state director at Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, said the new information, which will be public, can compromise the anonymity of patients and subject them to harassment. 

“Everybody should be able to get health care, free from judgment, free from harassment, and with privacy and dignity,” Wieder said. “This is another attempt from the legislature to take that away from Kentuckians.”

The reporting requirements also include indicating whether the pregnant patient has a blood type of Rh Negative. The law says providers should check for this to provide treatment and help prevent complications with future pregnancies

The more than 70-page law includes restrictions on abortion medication, a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and makes it harder for minors to get abortions. 

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU — on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center — challenged the law in federal court, and it’s been partly blocked for several months. However, some portions of the law have already gone into effect, including the 15-week ban. 

Wieder said she hopes the public comments will send the message to legislators that reproductive rights supporters aren’t going to back down from protesting abortion restrictions. 

“Kentuckians are paying attention to what is happening with reproductive health care in the state,” she said. “Since House Bill 3, and [since] Roe fell, more people are activated and paying attention and will no longer stand idly by.”

Abortions are currently illegal in most cases in Kentucky, under the trigger ban that went into effect after the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe versus Wade. 

That law was previously blocked in state court, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals recently ruled it could be enforced during the case, a decision which the state supreme court upheld.

Comments on the new abortion reporting requirements can be made by emailing CHFSRegs@ky.gov by Wednesday. 

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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