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Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry vetoes 2 anti-abortion measures

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: April 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm •  Published: April 23, 2010

Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two anti-abortion bills today, including one requiring women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound examination.

He vetoed a bill with a similar provision two years ago; legislators overrode that veto, and a court threw out the law before it could go into effect.

This time, Henry said the bill had numerous flaws and would ultimately result in another expensive and possibly futile legal battle for the state.

Henry today also vetoed a bill that would have banned lawsuits that claim a baby would have been better off aborted.

He signed a bill requiring abortion providers to post signs indicating that a woman could not be forced to have an abortion.

The ultrasound provision is similar to one that was included in a bill that Henry vetoed in 2008.

Legislators overrode his veto - the first and only time that's occurred since the Democratic governor took office in 2003. A New York group that supports abortion rights filed a lawsuit over the measure. An Oklahoma County judge struck the measure down because the bill contained more than one subject.

Lawmakers responded this session by filing individual bills.

Both vetoed measures contained an emergency clause, which means it will take a three-fourths vote by each chamber of the Legislature to override the governor's veto. Bills that do not contain an emergency clause require only a two-thirds vote to override.

The governor earlier this month signed measures that prevent women from getting abortions based on the gender of the fetus, require that only qualified physicians administer the RU-486 abortion pill and protect employees who refuse to participate in abortions.