OK House Passes Bill that Allows Civil Action against Abortion Providers

The Oklahoma State House unanimously passed a bill yesterday that allows for patients to sue abortion providers or doctors who prescribe the medication for an abortion. Under House Bill 2561, patients, or the parents of a minor patient, can sue the abortion provider if anything goes wrong during the abortion or if the patient believes the provider is not following “voluntary and informed consent provisions of state law related to abortions.”

House Bill 2561 passed without debate or discussion in an 89 to 0 vote. Last week, the Senate passed the bill 33 to 9 with amendments that remove liability from doctors who refer women with pregnancy complications to an abortion provider, as long as the abortion provider follows Oklahoma’s informed consent rules.

The bill, authored by State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, allows the providers and doctors to be sued for actual and punitive damages for wrongful death on behalf of the fetus. Patients can also sue for emotional distress and damages. Wesselhoft warned, “If you’re a doctor, you’d better Google and find out who you’re referring to.”

The bill now goes to Governor Mary Fallin (R) to be signed. Fallin opposes abortion.

Associated Press 5/3/12; The Oklahoman 5/3/12

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