by Steven Ertelt
March 7, 2007
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates in Oklahoma had a field day on Tuesday as the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee approved five different bills that would limit abortions in the state. The measures now go to the full state House for their consideration.
The bills would limit the performance of abortions at state funded facilities and by state employees. They also prohibit paying for abortions under health insurance policies unless an extra premium is paid.
The measures tighten up the state’s informed consent law where women get information about abortion’s risks and alternatives and they also change definitions about abortion to make it more clear what drugs kill unborn children.
The bill would add to legislation signed into law last year that would require parental consent before a teenage girl can have an abortion.
House Speaker Lance Cargill, a Republican, told the Associated Press last month when the bills were introduced that the state legislature has a duty to protect unborn children.
"We’re committed to building a culture of life in Oklahoma," he said. "Every human life is precious and worthy of protection."
Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life, applauded the bills as he joined with hundreds of pro-life advocates for a state rally inside the capitol in February.
He called the bills "reasonable and modest" and said that state-funded facilities should not be doing abortions. Rep. John Wright is behind that proposal.
Leslea Bennett-Webb of the Oklahoma Department of Health says the agency knows of only three places in the state that do abortions and she said state medical facilities are not doing abortions.
But Lauinger said he has "reason to believe" that abortions are occurring at state facilities or that state-funded employees are doing them. He did not provide specifics.
However, Anita Fream, the CEO of Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, said the legislature was wasting time on the measures.
"The intent behind many of these bills is to throw barriers in the paths of women who make decisions for their own lives that legislators may disagree with," Fream said, according to AP. "We believe these decisions are a matter of personal responsibility."
Other bills include a measure to require abortion practitioners to contact parents after an emergency abortion, prohibit coverage of abortions in health insurance policies, and requiring abortion practitioners to follow FDA guidelines on the morning after pill and RU 486.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Reynolds, a Republican, introduced a bill last month that would make abortions illegal in the state should the Supreme Court ever overturn Roe. The measure, known as a trigger law, would go into effect immediately should the high court reverse its 1973 decision that essentially allowed unlimited abortions.
In 2005 6,632 abortions were done in Oklahoma — an 8 percent drop from the 7,183 abortions done in 2000.