Oklahoma State Legislature Votes to Override Abortion Bill Vetoes

The Oklahoma state Senate voted to override the vetoes of two anti-choice bills vetoed Friday by Governor Brad Henry. The Oklahoma state House voted overwhelmingly to override the vetoes yesterday. Existing state law requires women to view an ultrasound prior to an abortion. The first of the two new laws requires medical professionals to also give a detailed description of the fetus, and to use a vaginal probe to obtain a clearer image. Governor Henry rejected the bill because “State policymakers should never mandate that a citizen be forced to undergo any medical procedure against his or her will, especially when such a procedure could cause physical or mental trauma…To do so amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy,” he said, reported CNN. The second new law prohibits women from suing doctors who intentionally withhold information or provide misleading or inaccurate information about a pregnancy, reported the Associated Press. Henry told CNN he believes it is “unconscionable to grant a physician legal protection to mislead or misinform a pregnant woman in an effort to impose his or her personal beliefs on his patient.” Henry responded to the override votes and told the Associated Press, “both laws will be challenged and, in all likelihood, overturned by the courts as unconstitutional…I fear this entire exercise will ultimately be a waste of taxpayers’ time and money.” In addition to the two vetoes, Henry did sign one anti-choice bill into law Friday. This law requires abortion clinics to post signs in their facilities stating that women cannot be coerced to have an abortion, that a woman’s voluntary consent is required to obtain the procedure, and that sex selective abortions are illegal, reported the New York Times. Henry also signed three anti-choice bills into law on April 5. The first of these bills outlaws sex-selective abortion, the second bill institutes a “conscience clause” allowing healthcare providers to refuse to participate in abortion procedures or refer patients to abortion providers, and the third bill puts restrictions on the administration of mifepristone (also known as RU-486) by requiring it be administered in the presence of a physician.


New York Times 4/27/10; CNN 4/27/10; Associated Press 4/27/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/21/10

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