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Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote to Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks

by Chris Casteel Published: June 19, 2013

All five U.S. House members from Oklahoma voted Tuesday for legislation that would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation passed 228 to 196, mostly along party lines. All five of Oklahoma’s House members are Republicans.
Democrats said the bill was unconstitutional and a waste of the House’s time since the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, would not consider it. The Obama administration issued a veto threat of the bill.
Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said, “Children are a precious gift from God, and we should speak up for the vulnerable who cannot speak for themselves. This bill codifies what most people already believe; a viable child that can experience pain is a unique life that deserves our protection. Science and medicine have rapidly advanced in the past decade, allowing better understanding of child development in the womb and greater opportunity for viability.
“At twenty weeks most parents in Oklahoma have already seen the ultrasound to watch their baby kick and independently move in the womb, determine the baby’s sex and count all their fingers and toes. At this stage the baby can also experience pain. We cannot allow the late-term atrocities performed by Dr. Gosnell in Philadelphia to continue in our country.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, “After the recent trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, we are still shaken by the horrors surrounding the abortion industry, especially in late-term pregnancies.
“For the first time, many unsuspecting individuals were uncomfortably introduced to appalling practices and procedures carried out regularly by abortionists in the name of women’s reproductive rights. These are images that will not go away or get easier to view with time. This is the reality of a crooked, horrific industry that endangers women and kills unborn children.”
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, said, As a father and a Christian, I know that all life is a gift from God and life begins at the moment of conception.
“I will always vote to defend the sanctity of life.
“The majority of people in the 2nd District are pro-life; and I am honored to be able to stand with them and to be their voice at the national level on this fundamentally important issue.”
The Obama administration’s veto threat says the legislation “would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor.
“Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose.
“This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution. The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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