Oklahoma House approves restrictive abortion measure

The bill, which won easy approval, would make it illegal to perform an abortion on an unborn child who is 20 or more weeks of age. If signed into statute, the bill would make Oklahoma the second state in the nation to have such a law.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 10, 2011

The decision states that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion as late as 24 weeks.

“It's unconstitutional,” said Virgin, a second-year law student and freshman legislator. “It violates Roe v. Wade. I support a woman's right to choose. I am very much in favor of other avenues of preventing abortion. I don't think this is an effective way to prevent abortions if that is the goal here. Comprehensive sex education is the way to go in public schools. Students need to know all the options. ... I don't think that restricting a woman's right to choose is the way to do it.”

Similar to Nebraska law

Peterson said her bill is patterned after a Nebraska measure that took effect last year. No lawsuits have been filed against that law, she said.

“This is a bill that has caught up with scientific evidence,” Peterson said. “Thirty-eight years ago, it was considered a clump of cells and now we know differently. We can see the development of the child; we do fetal surgery.”

If it passes, it would take effect Nov. 1.

Just before the vote, Peterson sent House members an e-mail that had a link to a video of an ultrasound of a 20-week-old fetus.

“Maybe that was helpful,” she said.

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