The Oklahoma Citizen reports that legislation affecting both health reform and women’s rights to choose abortion moved forward Friday in the state’s Health and Human Services Committee.
According to the OK Citizen, "[Republican State] Senator [Glenn] Coffee moved two measures that would have Oklahoma opt out
of federal health care reform legislation."
Three other bills passed
through committee that would place new hurdles in the way of a women’s
choice. The bills mirror similar legislation that passed last year but
[which] is under an injunction due to the single subject rule – many think next
the previous legislation will be ruled unconstitutional. The subjects
in the new legislation are: sex selection, RU486 and conscience.
Senator Lamb admitted there is no evidence of sex selective abortion in
All measures passed by Republican votes.
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The Citizen quotes Democratic State Senator Jim Wilson as saying: "we
should actually do things to help reduce abortions and "stop picking on
women..like they don’t know how to make their own decisions.""
As each of the first three anti-choice bills (SB-1890, 1891, and
1902) came up, Senator Connie Johnson, D-OKC, took the offensive and
never let up. She credited part of her inspiration to strongly
challenge each bill was information from Keri Parks of Planned
Parenthood. Keri briefly summarized each bill and specified clearly how
each was anti-choice. A spectator clapped hard after Senator Johnson’s
impassioned speech. Clapping is probably against protocol.
Senator Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, joined Johnson in pounding the
anti-choice Repubs with specifics about how they harassed, intimidated,
and blamed women instead of lifting them up by providing pre-natal
care, contraceptive help, sexual education—plus many more examples.
Wilson told them that pro-life meant feeding the elderly and repealing
the death penalty plus other examples. He was on fire!
Finally, a person from the State Health Department, upon the
Committee’s request, told the committee that about all that was on the
Health Department’s website OK2SHARE was the number of abortions in
Oklahoma but he didn’t know the total number. He was told that he had
misled the committee by a spectator. He was handed a sheet which listed
this information on the Health Department’s website about women seeking
abortions: county, race, education level, married/unmarried, previous
abortions, previous live births, type of procedure, gestation age of
fetus. He did not share this with the committee.
"As expected," the Citizen reports, "the first three bills passed, mainly 3-to-4 or 5. No votes came from Johnson, Wilson, and Adelson (D-Tulsa)."
The last bill (SB-2216, Statistical Abortion Reporting Act) was
deferred until sometime later. This is a replacement bill for the one
(HB-1595) presently being challenged in court by the Center for
Reproductive Rights, New York.