Oklahoma Lawmakers Defend Life
Special Report - April 30, 2010
After overriding gubernatorial vetoes of two pro-life bills this week, the Oklahoma Legislature has successfully passed six pieces of pro-life legislation in the last year. The legislature took only two days to vote to override the governor’s veto of HB 2780 and HB 2656. HB 2780 requires abortionists to perform an ultrasound, explain the image, give a medical description of the child, offer the woman an opportunity to view the image, and obtain “written certification” of such from the woman. All of this must occur “at least one hour prior to a woman having any part of an abortion performed or induced, and prior to the administration of any anesthesia or medication in preparation for the abortion,” so that the woman can “make an informed decision.” The measure does not apply when there is a certifiable medical emergency, but violations trigger penalties of over $100,000, depending on how many previous violations the abortionist has.
HB 2656 protects doctors from the growing trend of “wrongful life” lawsuits in which a woman who gives birth to a child with an abnormality sues her doctor, claiming that had she known about the abnormality before birth, she would have had an abortion. The legislation prohibits such lawsuits stating, “It is the intent of the Legislature that the birth of a child does not constitute a legally recognizable injury and that it is contrary to public policy to award damages because of the birth of a child or for the rearing of that child.” The legislature passed a single bill in 2008, which incorporated the provisions of both HB2780 and HB2656. After the legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of that bill, the state Supreme Court struck it down because it violated the state’s “single issue” rule by incorporating two issues into one law. For that reason, legislators chose to pass the law in pieces this year.
The other four pro-life laws passed this session include HB3075, which requires abortion facilities to post a sign stating the following: “Notice: It is against the law for anyone, regardless of his or her relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion. By law, we cannot perform, induce, prescribe for, or provide you with the means for an abortion unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent. It is against the law to perform, induce, prescribe for, or provide you with the means for an abortion against your will. You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened physical abuse or violence.” SB1890 prohibits abortions based on a child’s sex. SB1891, dubbed the “Freedom of Conscience Act,” enhances conscience protections for health care workers. SB1902 requires that only physicians may provide or administer the abortion drug RU-486.
“Much of the pro-life legislation we see being passed around the country in states like Oklahoma and Nebraska is similar to legislation introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly each year,” said to Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Unfortunately, the difference in our state is that our legislative leaders refuse to take up these common-sense measures that would provide better information and protection for our mothers and health care providers.”
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