OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns has filed Senate Bill 1167, the “Every Mother Matters Act,” also known as EMMA. The legislation is aimed at ensuring that any woman seeking an abortion is given access to resources and programs she may not realize are available. Burns, R-Pollard, said the goal is to give women the support they need to choose life, instead of abortion.
According to the Abortion Surveillance in Oklahoma Report published by the Oklahoma State Department of Health in August 2020, between 2002 and 2020, there were 99,543 abortions performed in Oklahoma, an average of 5,239 a year. During that period, the abortion rate was higher among women between the ages of 20 and 29. Black women, women with less education, and those who were unmarried had higher rates of abortions compared to other women of child-bearing age.
“Many women facing unexpected pregnancies turn to abortion because they feel like they have no choice. We want to make sure they have an opportunity to connect with medical, financial and other resources that they may not know about,” Burns said. “This legislation will do that as well as provide screening to identify those who’ve been victims of crime so that, with the woman’s consent, a report can be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency.”
Under SB 1167, a woman seeking an abortion must be given a pre-abortion resource access assistance offer. If the woman accepts the offer, she’ll be connected with a care agent who will provide, at no cost to her, an assessment of eligibility and offer assistance in obtaining support services, other than abortion, for her or the unborn child’s biological father. Those services include housing, employment, childcare, health care, counseling, adoption services, financial assistance and more.
The bill also specifies professional qualifications for care agents and disqualifies anyone who has worked as or for an abortion provider within the last two years. It also requires care agents to undergo training to help identify human trafficking indicators and comply with state and federal privacy laws.
“My ultimate goal is ending abortion altogether, and that fight continues,” Burns said. “But we must also do all we can as a state to help present compassionate options for those faced with unexpected pregnancies that promote the preservation and dignity of life for mothers and their babies.”
For more information, contact Sen. George Burns at 405-521-5614 or email George.Burns@oksenate.gov