A War on Women in Oklahoma

The Republican-controlled legislature in Oklahoma today overrode the veto of Governor Brad Henry, a Democrat, to pass one of the nation's most restrictive anti-abortion laws.

There are two measures. The first requires that women undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before having an abortion. This is tantamount to psychological torture. The second measure now law in the Sooner State protects doctors from malpractice suits if they decide not to inform the parents of a unborn baby that the fetus has birth defects. The intent of this measure is to prevent parents from later suing doctors who withhold information to try to influence them against having an abortion.

From the New York Times:

Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, vetoed both bills last week. The ultrasound law, he said, was flawed because it did not exempt rape and incest victims and was an unconstitutional intrusion into a woman’s privacy. He painted the other measure as immoral.

“It is unconscionable to grant a physician legal protection to mislead or misinform pregnant women in an effort to impose his or her personal beliefs on a patient,” Mr. Henry said.

The Republican majorities in both houses, however, saw things differently. On Monday, the House voted overwhelmingly to override the vetoes, and the Senate followed suit at 10:42 a.m. Tuesday, making the two measures law.

The ultrasound law was part of a bill that was struck down by the state courts last August because it violated a clause in the Oklahoma Constitution that requires bills to deal with only one subject. Republican lawmakers vowed at the time to pass it again.

This year, Republican leaders passed five separate antiabortion bills to satisfy the courts’ concerns. Mr. Henry signed one into law: it required that clinics post signs stating a woman cannot be forced to have an abortion, that an abortion cannot be performed until a woman gives her voluntary consent, and that abortions based on a child’s gender are illegal.

Two other antiabortion bills are still working their way through the legislature. One would force women to fill out a lengthy questionnaire about their reasons for seeking an abortion and then post statistics online based on the answers. The other restricts insurance coverage for the procedure.

Though many states have passed similar laws aimed at curbing abortion, with Tuesday’s action, Oklahoma appears to have become the most hostile to women seeking to end a pregnancy, said Dionne Scott, a spokeswoman for the Center for Reproductive Rights, an advocacy group for abortion rights based in New York.

“It’s the most extreme ultrasound requirement in the country,” she said.

These days anything touched by Republican hands is, by definition, extreme. This is a party that has declared war on women, on immigrants, on the elderly, on the sick and infirm, on those with pre-existing conditions, on the poor, on you and on me. These laws are, as Governor Henry noted, unconscionable.

Tags: Oklahoma, Reproductive Rights, Gov. Brad Henry, GOP Extremism, GOP Extremism (all tags)




Another issue where the messaging has been lost.  What happened
to framing the issue as of choice?  It confirms what I have long held about most Republicans--it's replacing one form of big governnment with another.  So why not reframe the abortion issue as one of government control?


by esconded 2010-04-27 10:12PM | 1 recs
RE: messaging

That frame was lost a long time ago when the asshats started saying its a choice not a child, making many who were pro-choice feel uncomfortable and remain silent on the issue like it was some dirty secret.

I'm not sure how to rescue the framing.

by yitbos96bb 2010-04-27 11:35PM | 0 recs
RE: messaging

what do you mean?

by vecky 2010-04-28 01:08AM | 0 recs
wow--withholding information from patients

is now what Republicans want for America? It would be pathetic if it weren't so frightening.

by desmoinesdem 2010-04-27 10:47PM | 0 recs

Wow, that's messed up.   

This just seems like the Oklahoma GOP daring Pro-choicers to fight this to the Scotus to overturn R v W.  And under its current makeup, I'm not sure what would happen.  Kennedy seems to agree with R v W to a point, but has no problem limiting it.  If one of the RWingers doesn't die or retire, R v W could seriously be wiped from the books in the next decade or two. 

by yitbos96bb 2010-04-27 11:39PM | 0 recs
RE: ...

Well, we saw with Terri Schavio that CONservatives are more than willing to stick their noses into private family affairs. It's sort of a mantra with them - leave big business alone and unregulated, relentlessly interfere in the freedoms of individual citizens. Eventually it will reach a breaking point.

by vecky 2010-04-28 01:16AM | 0 recs
Don't Blame the Republicans

Well, don't give Republicans all the blame, anyhow. They're just political opportunists playing to the base.

If you want to blame somebody for the dwindling rights of choice for women in this country, then blame the women (and men) who aren't fighting to save choice. Because the collective voice for choice is barely a whisper anymore, imperceptible against the roar of the forces against choice.


by S1 2010-04-28 08:03AM | 0 recs


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