News Law and Policy

Oklahoma Admitting Privileges Bill Passes Senate Committee

Teddy Wilson

A bill that would require physicians who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital passed an Oklahoma senate committee Tuesday. The bill appears to be based on model legislation drafted by the anti-choice group Americans United for Life.

A bill that would require physicians who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital passed the Oklahoma Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Tuesday. The senate version of the bill includes many more restrictions on reproductive health care than the house version, which passed committee last week.

SB 1848 is sponsored by Sen. Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) and Rep. Randy Grau (R-Edmond), who is also the sponsor of a house bill to restrict access to medication abortion. The bill would, like the house version, require doctors who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they are performed.

But unlike the house version, the senate bill includes requirements about equipment clinics must have available, as well as specific regulations on abortion procedures, which the state health board would be required to enforce. Strict reporting requirements are also included.

The legislation regulates the pre-procedure screening of patients, including specific requirements for medical history and physical examination. It also includes requirements for actual abortion procedures and standards of care after procedures; under the legislation, physicians would have to provide written instructions for medical emergencies and recommendations concerning “post-abortion coitus.”

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The bill appears to be based on model legislation drafted by the anti-choice group Americans United for Life (AUL). SB 1848 includes several passages that are identical to AUL model legislation. In the section mandating admitting privileges for abortion providers, only eight of 76 words from the model legislation are different.

Sen. Treat and Rep. Grau have a history of successfully passing AUL-inspired bills in the Oklahoma legislature. In 2011, both Treat and Grau authored a bill based on AUL model legislation that required abortion providers to follow the Food and Drug Administration’s outdated guidelines for medication abortions. (That bill was later blocked by the courts; Grau introduced similar legislation this year.)

During the 2013 legislative session, Treat and Grau worked together to pass a parental notification law that is one of the most stringent in the country. AUL praised the law for being based on its model legislation.

SB 1848 has been referred to the Senate Appropriation Committee, where it awaits further action.

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