Satirical Amendment Cited in False Claims About Kentucky Abortion Law

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Quick Take

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, allowing laws banning abortion in several states, including Kentucky, to take effect. But social media posts falsely claim Kentucky is considering a law requiring all women of childbearing age to undergo monthly pregnancy testing. The claim stemmed from a lawmaker’s satirical amendment.


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Three years before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kentucky passed what’s known as a trigger law that set up an abortion ban to take effect whenever the landmark decision legalizing abortion nationwide was reversed.

Kentucky state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian was so strongly opposed to the proposed law that she submitted a spoof amendment satirizing it. She told a local newspaper at the time that she hoped the stunt would draw attention to the bill, which she believed was unnecessary and intrusive.

“It’s none of our business, to interfere in personal and private decisions of women,” Marzian said.

Despite her protest, the bill passed the state House by a vote of 69-20 and later passed the Senate. The governor signed it into law on March 26, 2019.

It took effect on June 24, 2022 — the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade as part of its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson, a case about a Mississippi law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Kentucky law makes it a felony to perform an abortion except for cases in which a doctor has determined “that such a procedure is necessary to protect the life of a pregnant mother,” according to a memo issued by the state’s attorney general.

Marzian’s amendment — which was designed to be criticism rather than serious legislation — didn’t become part of that law.

But, following the Supreme Court’s recent decision, social media users have shared the text of the satirical amendment as though it’s a currently proposed bill.

The amendment was featured in a viral video on TikTok and has been spreading on Facebook and Twitter, where people have shared screenshots of the amendment with messages expressing concern about the impact it would have.

The satirical amendment said, in part, “All women who are Kentucky residents, and of child bearing age, shall acquire a signed and notarized statement from a practitioner licensed pursuant to this chapter each month that states whether she is pregnant or not pregnant. … Any woman who is pregnant and fails to provide this monthly signed and notarized statement to the cabinet will be fitted with an ankle monitor for the duration of the pregnancy in addition to any arrest and fines.”

When copies of her proposal started circulating on social media recently, Marzian took to Twitter to explain her intention.

“Since Friday’s horrendous US Supreme Court ruling on abortion, I have seen several references to a satirical amendment I filed in 2019, when the General Assembly passed the trigger law that immediately stopped elective abortions once the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was made,” she wrote on June 27.

“I vehemently opposed that law and in protest filed an amendment that would have required all women to undergo monthly pregnancy checks by the state,” she explained. “I of course never intended it to become law, and it was never considered (although I worry we’re getting closer to that reality).”

So, the claims that Kentucky is considering state-mandated pregnancy checks are based on a political lampoon from 2019.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Kiely, Eugene and Lori Robertson. “What Happens if Roe v. Wade Is Overturned?” FactCheck.org. Updated 24 Jun 2022.

Kentucky General Assembly. “H.B. 148, AN ACT relating to abortion.” As passed 26 Mar 2029.

Marzian, Mary Lou. Amend printed copy of HB 148/HCS 1. Accessed 28 Jun 2022.

Cameron, Daniel. Kentucky Attorney General. “Attorney General Advisory: The effect and scope of the Human Life Protection Act in light of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.” 24 Jun 2022.

Marzian, Mary Lou (@MaryLouMarzian). “Since Friday’s horrendous US Supreme Court ruling on abortion, I have seen several references to a satirical amendment I filed in 2019, when the General Assembly passed the trigger law that immediately stopped elective abortions once the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was made.” (1/5) Twitter. 27 Jun 2022.

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