Gov. Brad Henry today signed three anti-abortion measures, despite the possibility they may be challenged in court.
The governor signed:
• SB 1890, which makes abortion on the account of the sex of the unborn child illegal. Revokes or suspends the license of any provider who violates this law.
• SB 1891, which creates the Freedom of Conscience Act. An employer cannot discriminate against an employee by refusing to accommodate the religious beliefs of said person as it pertains to abortion, human embryos, fetal transplants or euthanasia.
• SB 1902, which regulates the prescription of RU-486, or mifepristone, and its use in inducing an abortion.
All three measures had enough support in the Legislature — at least two-thirds — that they contained what is known as an emergency clause, which allows the measures to take effect immediately.
Tamya Cox, legislative counsel for the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said her group is disappointed the governor signed the measures and would consult with The Center for Reproductive Rights.
The New York-based center successfully challenged earlier versions of each of these bills. A staff attorney for the group said earlier there is a "good chance" the group would file legal challenges to one or all the measures if they were allowed to become law.
House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, has defended the measures, saying the Legislature's motivation "is the respect and sanctity of life in the womb."
The three measures were contained in two bills, one passed in 2008 and the other passed in 2009, which contained several anti-abortion measures.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed lawsuits against both bills. Both were struck down by the courts.
The bills were found to have violated a requirement in the Oklahoma Constitution that that legislation deal with a single subject.
Legislators this year filed separate bills for each of the seven measures that were contained in the two bills.
A staff attorney for The Center for Reproductive Rights said the measures would interfere with a woman's right to an abortion and her privacy.