Oklahoma Senate Overrides Veto of Pro-Life Bill for Pre-Abortion Ultrasound
by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2010
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — The Oklahoma Senate today joined the state House in overriding vetoes by Governor Brad Henry of two pro-life bills that would help limit abortions. One measure allows women a chance to see a pre-abortion ultrasound of their unborn child while the other prevents wrongful death lawsuits.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 36-12 Tuesday to override the Henry veto of a bill allowing women to see an ultrasound before having an abortion — which helps as many as 80 percent of women choose life.
The Senate voted on the same bipartisan margin to override Henry on a second bill that respects babies with disabilities by disallowing wrongful-life lawsuits that claim a baby would have been better off being aborted and that a physician should have suggested an abortion.
Both override votes received just enough votes, 36, to obtain the supermajority threshold necessary to overcome the governor’s vetoes. As a result of the votes, both pieces of legislation will now become law.
Henry said the ultrasound measure would create another expensive battle in the courts and didn’t contain an exception for women who would abort their unborn children after a rape or incest.
House members voted 81-14 Monday to override the veto of the ultrasound measure and voted 84-12 to override the veto of the wrongful life lawsuits.
Mary Spaulding Balch, an attorney who is the director of the Department of State Legislation at the National Right to Life Committee, takled with LifeNews.com about the vote.
"This is a victory for the women of Oklahoma and their unborn children. Abortion is a business, the least time spent with a woman, the least information given to her, the more sales made," she said.
"This law protects a mother’s right to know something about her developing unborn child. It gives her a window to her womb. It help to prevent her from making a decision she may regret for the rest of her life and it empowers her with the most accurate information about her pregnancy so that she can make a truly informed ‘choice’," Balch added.
This is the second time Henry has vetoed a measure giving women the right to see an ultrasound of their baby before an abortion. Legislators overrode the veto last time and the head of Oklahomans for Life said before the vetoes that he expects the legislature would try again.
"Pro-abortion groups want vetoes from the Governor and want Democrats in the Senate to sustain the pro-abortion vetoes. Planned Parenthood is the ringleader of the tragic campaign to continue the unrestrained killing of unborn babies across Oklahoma," Tony Lauinger of Oklahomans for Life told LifeNews.com.
Last week, Henry signed a bill, HB 3075, that ensures that a mother’s consent to an abortion is truly voluntary and safeguards against coerced abortions. It requires abortion clinics to post signs indicating that a woman could not be forced to have an abortion.
Earlier in the week, Henry received a package of five bills.
HB 3284 provides for the reporting of abortions performed in Oklahoma, the reasons abortions are sought, and the complications that result.
Lauinger said: "Knowing why women seek abortions may make it possible to solve underlying problems. The reporting of complications will allow an assessment of the untested claim that abortion is ‘safe.’"
One additional pro-life bill, prompted by passage of the federal health-care law last month, is pending in the state Senate. The federal health-care law allows states to opt out of abortion coverage in the state-based insurance "exchanges" the law creates.
HB 3290 prohibits all health plans offered through the state exchange in Oklahoma from including coverage for elective abortions.
Lauinger said of that measure, "HB 3290 can’t fix all the abortion-related problems created by the new federal health-care law, but it will fix this one area in which the states have been given discretion."
The bills were enacted in previous years but were later struck down by state courts for violating the nebulous "single-subject" rule (because they were included in broader abortion legislation).
Three of the bills head to the governor while two go back to the state House for approval.
Henry signed three pro-life bills earlier this year to limit abortions into law earlier this month after courts struck them down when they were bundled into one bill.
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