The House for the third time in two years easily passed a measure Tuesday that would require a woman be given a description of ultrasound images of her unborn child and be offered those images before getting an abortion.
House members didn’t ask questions or debate House Bill 2780. It passed 87-7 and now goes to the Senate.
"The bill is necessary to provide women all of the information before they make an irrevocable decision,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Lisa Billy. "This bill actually provides her a choice — she does not have to view that screen.”
The measure would exempt a pregnant woman seeking an abortion and experiencing a medical emergency, said Billy, R-Lindsay.
Tamya Cox, legislative counsel for the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said her group is "completely disappointed that the House would pass such an unnecessary, intrusive bill. There is no medical reason to provide or require an ultrasound before termination.
"The only purpose of this bill is to intimidate, frighten and discourage women from pretty much exercising their constitutional right,” Cox said.
HB 2780 comes from language in a bill that passed in 2008 that included other anti-abortion provisions. Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the measure and legislators overrode it.
The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against the measure.
In August, an Oklahoma County judge struck down the legislation after deciding it violated a requirement in the state constitution that legislation cover a single subject.
"We’re continuing to see bills whose only purpose is to intimidate, and it’s time for Okahomans to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Cox said.