Oklahoma governor signs fetal heartbeat bill

Oklahoma abortion providers will be required to offer a woman the opportunity to hear the fetus's heartbeat. The measure takes effect Nov. 1.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: April 28, 2012
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Gov. Mary Fallin signed a measure into law Friday that requires an abortion provider to offer a woman the opportunity to hear the fetus's heartbeat before ending the pregnancy.

Senate Bill 1274 takes effect Nov. 1.

The measure won easy approval in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The Senate passed it 34-8 last month and the House of Representatives approved it 75-12 last week.

Backers said it would empower women by giving them additional information before deciding to go through with the procedure.

Opponents said SB 1274 is unnecessary because existing state law requires a woman to listen to the child's heartbeat as part of its abortion “informed consent” statutes.

Rep. Pam Peterson, the House author of SB 1274, said last week the measure would apply to situations where the unborn baby is eight weeks or older, and the woman would have the choice on whether to hear the heartbeat during a standard pre-procedure exam.

The bill's provisions do not apply when the mother's life is in danger.

Peterson said it is important to ensure informed-consent rights and that the measure gives a woman the opportunity to hear the heartbeat of her unborn child through the use of a fetal heart monitor.

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