by Steven Ertelt
May 24, 2006
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, has signed into law a comprehensive pro-life bill that tackles several topics. It calls for parents to be required to give their permission for a teen to have an abortion and allows women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound photo of their baby beforehand.
Also under the measure, 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.
Gov, Henry signed the bill without comment Wednesday and said the abortions limits in it were reasonable.
"Senate Bill 1742 includes measured restrictions on abortion," Henry said. "This legislation strikes a reasonable balance on a contentious issue."
Henry spokesman Paul Sund said the governor’s office got about 700 calls on the bill and were about equally for and against.
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.
The House signed off on the measures and the Senate approved them in a combined bill on a 38-8 vote.
Oklahomans for Life chairman Tony Lauinger told the Associated Press that the measure Henry signed will provide hope for pregnant women and their unborn children.
But, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Keith Smith blasted the governor and told AP Henry’s actions were "highly unfortunate."
"This is a great victory for the unborn," said Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, the author of the provision. "This new law is an answer to many years of prayer — and it shows the importance of electing pro-life legislators in the Senate and House."
Senate GOP Leader Glenn Coffee said new Sen. Mike Schulz should get part of the credit for the decision by Democrat leaders to allow a vote on SB 1742.
“Sen. Schulz’s victory in last week’s special election gave pro-lifers an extra vote in the Senate – and the momentum to pass this bill,” said Coffee. “If we didn’t have Sen. Schulz as the 23rd Republican in the Senate, we probably wouldn’t be voting on this bill today.”
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.
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