Monday, May 10, 2010

Oklahoma's Newest (and Likely Unconstitutional) Abortion Laws

Critics say the state should stay out of this issue, but I believe turning a blind eye to women in need is inexcusable, and preventing them from receiving accurate medical information is true cruelty.
That's Oklahoma state representative Lisa Billy (R-Lindsay), author of one of the two abortion bills that recently passed into law in Oklahoma over the veto of governor Brad Henry, in an interview published in USA Today, according to the McCarville Report. The other of the two bills, HB 2656, eliminates the possibility for a woman to recover damages from a medical provider if that provider misleads the woman into thinking her fetus is healthy and normal. In essence, it allows for preventing women from receiving accurate medical information, which should be "true cruelty" according to Rep. Billy. Governor Brad Henry called it "unconscionable to grant a physician legal protection to mislead or misinform a pregnant woman in an effort to impose his or her personal beliefs on his patient."

Rep. Billy's own bill, HB 2780, requires that all women receive an ultrasound, and a doctor or medical technician must show the woman the screen and provide a medical description of the images an hour before every scheduled abortion. Rep. Billy stated that "women should have the choice to see that image" of the fetus. And yet her bill, which also became law, actually does just the opposite, eliminating choice from the equation.

I filed this bill to empower women, no matter what their circumstance, to have as much information as possible before making a life-altering decision.

My mistake. I thought taking away the power to make a decision about having an ultrasound was actually the opposite of empowerment.


Jacob said...

With regards to the second bill, my first question would be whether patients are still empowered to instigate complaints to whatever Oklahoma Board of Medicine committee handles ethics and other malpractice allegations.

Steve said...

I'm not really sure, but here's section 3 subsection D of the law: "A pregnant woman upon whom an abortion has been performed in violation of Section 2 of this act, or the parent or legal guardian of the woman if she is an unemancipated minor, as defined in Section 1-740.1 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, may commence a civil action against the abortion provider for any knowing or reckless violation of this act for actual and punitive damages."

Full text here: HB 2780