by Steven Ertelt
April 3, 2007
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — The Oklahoma state House approved a measure Tuesday that would end the practice of using state taxpayer dollars through the Medicaid system to pay for abortions. The House voted 73-22 for the bill, which the Senate had already approved, and it now goes back to the upper chamber for a final vote.
Rep. John Wright, a Republican who sponsored the bill, said the measure was "about who pays for it" saying that taxpayers don’t want to be forced to fund abortions.
Other legislators spoke up for the bill including Rep. George Faught, who said "Babies can’t fight for themselves" and Rep. Pam Peterson, who called abortion the "ultimate child abuse in this country."
The measure even ha the support of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, a doctor who has delivered more than 3,000 children. He said in a statement sent to LifeNews.com that he supported the bill because it "would ensure that the tax dollars of Oklahomans are no longer used to extinguish the life of the unborn."
The bill drew opposition from Rep. Doug Cox, a Republican and physician who said the measure would also cut off state funding for poor women with problem pregnancies.
The Oklahoma State Medical Association joined Cox in opposing the bill — something that disappointed Coburn.
"The reality is that every tax dollar that is spent to perform an abortion is a dollar that has been taken away from providing medically necessary health care for patients," he said.
"More than 18 percent of Oklahoma’s population is uninsured, the seventh-highest rate in the country," Coburn added. "How can we justify spending limited public resources on abortion when our fellow Oklahomans can not even afford basic health care?"
In 2005 6,632 abortions were done in Oklahoma — an 8 percent drop from the 7,183 abortions done in 2000.