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Oklahoma governor signs 2 anti-abortion bills

House Bill 1888 outlaws abortions after 20 weeks, making Oklahoma one of the strictest anti-abortion states in the nation. Senate Bill 547 ensures that standard health insurance policies sold in Oklahoma do not include elective abortion coverage.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: April 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm •  Published: April 20, 2011
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Optional coverage

Fallin also signed Senate Bill 547, which ensures that standard health insurance policies sold in Oklahoma do not include elective abortion coverage. Under the bill, those who want abortion coverage could do so by buying optional supplemental coverage with a separate premium.

“We will show the rest of the nation that life is sacred to our state,” Fallin said during a bill-signing ceremony. “These two pieces of legislation will go a long way in helping us protect the lives of the unborn.”

Goldberg said SB 547, similar to laws passed by at least five other states, basically will make abortion coverage impossible to get in Oklahoma.

“These (insurance) riders are not available,” she said. “It essentially bans insurance coverage for abortions.”

Nearly 50 legislators, mostly Republican, as is Fallin, stood behind the governor when she signed both measures that were easily approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Senate. Both bills take effect Nov. 1.

“It's wonderful to have a governor that actually signs pro-life bills,” said Peterson, referring to former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry who vetoed four anti-abortion measures last year.

100th day in office

Fallin, elected last year, used her 100th day as governor to sign the anti-abortion bills.

“I ... have a deep commitment to doing everything that I can to preserve the life of the unborn,” she said. “I believe that life begins at conception and that life is very sacred. I believe that God has given each one of us the responsibility to do what we can do to protect life, especially those lives of the unborn.”

Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, complimented lawmakers who supported the legislation and Fallin, saying there have been 53 million abortions since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

“But amidst this culture of death, our elected officials in Oklahoma have been building a culture of life,” he said.

“They recognize that a civilized society should not dismember babies who are demonstrably capable of feeling pain.

“Our society will be one day be judged on how we have treated the least among us, those at the margins of life,” Lauinger said. “We are deeply grateful to our governor and our legislators for their wisdom, their humanity and their faithfulness to these innocent children waiting to be born.”