Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signs 3 anti-abortion bills

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: April 6, 2010 at 4:17 am •  Published: April 6, 2010
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Gov. Brad Henry signed measures Monday to 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.

A New York-based women’s rights group says it will wait until the end of the Oklahoma legislative session to determine whether it will challenge anti-abortion legislation.

Henry signed the three measures without comment.

Legislators are considering four other anti-abortion bills. All seven were included in two bills that legislators passed previously but were struck down by courts after legal challenges.

"We are disappointed that the governor signed these bills into law,” said Stephanie Toti, a staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The session is scheduled to end May 28.

Tony Lauinger, state chairman for Okahomans for Life, said the measures signed by Henry should pass legal muster.

"We feel confident that these bills will be upheld if they are challenged,” Lauinger said. "We believe they are absolutely constitutional. They help to underscore the importance of defending innocent human life in every way we are able to under the current U.S. Supreme Court rulings,” he said.

The bills
The governor signed:


• Senate Bill 1890, which makes abortion on the account of the sex of the unborn child illegal. It 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 that person’s religious beliefs 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.


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OTHER MEASURES

The Legislature is considering four other anti-abortion measures:


House Bill 3284: Would require doctors to report detailed information about abortions to the state Health Department, including the age, marital status and education level of patients.


HB 2780: Would require a woman be given a description of ultrasound images of her unborn child and be offered those images before getting an abortion.


HB 3075: Would require certain signs to be displayed in an abortion clinic.


HB 2656: Would ban lawsuits that claim a baby would have been better off aborted.

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