FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill that would expand the state attorney general’s authority to enforce abortion law won approval from a Kentucky House committee Wednesday.
The measure would expand the attorney general’s power to regulate abortion facilities, including bringing civil or criminal penalties for violations.
The bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a 15-5 vote, news outlets reported.
It would enhance the power of Attorney General Daniel Cameron, an anti-abortion Republican, to take enforcement action against abortion clinics without approval from the administration of Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat who supports abortion rights.
Current law limits that power without authorization from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which licenses and inspects health facilities.
Several committee members expressed concern about expanding those powers. Democratic Rep. Maria Solaris asked about the potential for a “rogue attorney general.”
Republican Rep. Stan Lee, the bill’s sponsor, replied that the courts could handle such problems.
The bill’s opponents showed up dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the novel and award-winning show in which women are subservient.
Another abortion-related bill that won committee approval would require the “dignified treatment” of fetal remains through cremation or burial.
No witnesses spoke against either bill, though opponents in their bright red robes filled several rows of seats in the room.