OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma House panel approved legislation Tuesday to require abortion providers to notify women whose fetuses have fatal conditions that perinatal hospice services are available as an alternative to an abortion.
The measure, passed 7-2 by the House Public Health Committee, extends informed consent requirements for women considering an abortion that have been approved by lawmakers in previous years, said the bill's author, Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond.
By a 6-3 vote, the committee also passed legislation that bans embryonic stem cell research in the state by outlawing scientific research that destroys a human embryo.
The state already requires counseling prior to an abortion as well as parental notification and consent for a minor seeking an abortion. In December 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down an informed consent law that required providers to perform an ultrasound and describe the fetus before proceeding with an abortion.
Grau said his bill addresses the "heartbreaking scenario" of a family whose unborn child is diagnosed with a condition that will result in death within hours or days of birth. He held up a photograph of an infant diagnosed with a fatal anomaly whose parents chose to carry to birth. The child lived for 10 days, Grau said.
"Ten days is not long," Grau said. But he said it was long enough for the child, whose parents were pictured cradling him.
Perinatal hospice services can include obstetricians, neonatologists, psychiatrists and specialty nurses.
Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, said Grau's bill seemed like a good idea but suggested that lawmakers study the proposal before enacting it to allow more time for doctors and other health professionals to provide their input.
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