by Steven Ertelt
May 19, 2006
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — The Oklahoma state Senate backed an amendment to another bill that includes several requirements found in House-approved bills that a Senate committee refused to give hearings. The bill containing the requirements is now on its way to Gov. Brad Henry, who is expected to sign it.
Pro-life lawmakers knew that any of the pro-life measures the Oklahoma House approved that could get before the full Senate will get a strong measure of support. They were right.
The Senate voted 38-8 for the list of new abortion protections.
Under the proposal, parents must first give their permission before a minor teenager can have an abortion. Women considering an abortion would be able to see an ultrasound photo of their baby beforehand.
Also, women contemplating an abortion would be told that their unborn child after 20 weeks of pregnancy will likely feel intense pain during the abortion. They are given the option to administer anesthesia to the baby beforehand.
The proposal also includes a measure that would allow prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they assault a pregnant woman and kill or injure the unborn child and would send state family planning funds to pregnancy centers.
"This will empower women to make better decisions and make Oklahoma a better place to raise children," said Rep. Lisa Billy, a Republican who inserted the provisions into another bill.
Adopted in other states, the various measures have proven effective in reducing the number of abortions and helping women find abortion alternatives.
Sen. Bernest Cain, a Democrat, had refused to hold hearings on a slate of pro-life bills on the various issues that the state House approved by wide margins. He complained about the vote afterwards.
"These people are continually trying to put up roadblocks to stop the legal rights women have in this country," he told the Tulsa World newspaper.
All of the Senate Republicans supported the bill and all but eight Democrats did as well.
Henry told the newspaper he supports some of the requirements but hasn’t made up his mind on all of them.
Keith Smith, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, said the abortion business opposed the bill and claimed it wouldn’t reduce abortions.
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