Posts misrepresent 2019 ‘satirical’ amendment to Kentucky abortion law
CLAIM: Kentucky is considering legislation that would require women to submit to the state every month a statement from a doctor indicating if they are pregnant — or else face penalties.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The legislation was an amendment proposed in jest by a Democratic lawmaker in 2019 to express her opposition to a bill banning abortions. The measure wasn’t seriously considered.
THE FACTS: The only two abortion clinics in Kentucky halted the procedure Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Kentucky in 2019 passed a law declaring that abortion would become illegal “effective immediately” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The measure contains a narrow exception allowing a physician to perform a procedure necessary to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman.
But online, some are sharing screenshots of a proposed amendment to that 2019 bill that was introduced by Democratic state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian in jest — and never seriously pursued.
The amendment called for requiring women who live in Kentucky to receive monthly statements from doctors stating whether or not they are pregnant. It also required that those records be submitted to the state, or women would face arrest and fines, and went so far as to propose ankle monitors for pregnant women who didn’t comply.
Posts circulating on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok in recent days misrepresented the amendment as an active and serious proposal.
“Has anyone seen this from the Kentucky house bill 148? Pro life AND Pro choice people, you are ALL going to care about this! PLEASE READ THIS!” reads one Facebook post Sunday. “They are trying to require ALL girls /women to get monthly physicals to prove you aren’t pregnant. This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen.”
But Marzian reiterated Monday that the measure was from 2019 and meant to serve as commentary on the bill banning abortions.
“Totally satire,” Marzian told The Associated Press by phone. “It was an amendment, it was never heard in committee, I had no intention of ever moving it.”
Marzian, who supports abortion rights, said she has filed several measures over the years that were satirical in nature and designed to make her political opponents look like “morons.”
In 2016, in response to legislation requiring women to receive ultrasounds and “informed consent” consultations before undergoing abortions, Marzian filed a bill to put conditions on men’s access to erectile-dysfunction drugs. It would have required them to have two visits with their doctor on separate days before getting a prescription. Her measure stalled in committee.
Marzian, a fixture in the Kentucky House for nearly 30 years, withdrew from her reelection campaign earlier this year.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.