Kentucky: State Booklet to Feature Embryo Color Photos

FRANKFORT -- Women seeking abortions in Kentucky may soon be offered a booklet with color photos depicting the growth of unborn children. hat would seem to satisfy one requirement of a new law requiring a 24-hour waiting period and a woman's informed consent to abortion.

But a host of details about the booklet, and other provisions of the law, remain to be resolved in a crucial part of the lawmaking process the public seldom sees -- the writing of state regulations by which statutes are carried out and enforced.

The law, enacted over a veto by pro-abortion Gov. Paul Patton, requires the state by Jan. 1 to publish materials on fetal development and other topics, including adoption and child support. Women awaiting abortions are to be told the materials are available.

The statute calls for "depiction" of fetal development but does not say how. A draft of a booklet, with color photos taken in the womb, was circulated yesterday among a select group that will largely determine how the new law is carried out.

The images, by famed Swedish photographer Lennert Nilsson, have a greater effect than a drawing or a black-and-white ultrasound photo, said Margie Montgomery, executive director of Kentucky Right to Life Association.

"We need to have the color photos. There's no doubt in my mind," Montgomery said.

Dr. Rice Leach, state commissioner for public health, assembled Montgomery and 20 others to help him design the materials. They include doctors, nurses, state government officials, abortion supporters and right to life proponents. They quickly focused on the proposed booklet.

The photos are nearly equal in size, but not actual size. The irst is of a human embryo at 12 to 24 hours after fertilization. The booklet says the embryo is the same size as a point of a pin. The last photo is of a fetus at 36 weeks, virtually at the point of delivery.

Jane Chiles, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, said she felt strongly that the photos should be used.

Montgomery questioned why the draft booklet contained nothing about emotional and physical consequences of abortion. Leach said those subjects were for abortion practitioners to explain to women seeking abortions. The fetal-development booklet should say nothing about abortion or family planning, Leach said.


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