On a bipartisan vote, the Oklahoma Senate sent Gov. Brad Henry a revised version of a pro-life measure to prohibit taxpayer dollars, state-run hospitals, or state employees from being used to perform abortions.
“Senate Bill 139 is ‘Round 2’ of the Legislature’s effort to get the State of Oklahoma out of the abortion business. Passage of this legislation is a great victory for the unborn, and I strongly encourage the governor to sign it this time,” stated Williamson, R-Tulsa, the bill’s author.
One change to SB 139 compared to the original bill, SB 714, is the addition of a “rape or incest” exception to the prohibition of taxpayer dollars, state-run hospitals, or state employees from being used to perform abortions. Another change makes clear that physicians are not prevented from discussing all medical options with a pregnant woman.
“These changes relate to the two main objections by opponents to SB 714. The bill was never intended to prevent doctors from discussing viable medical options with their patients, nor did SB 714 prohibit the use of Medicaid dollars for abortions in cases of rape or incest,” said Williamson. “Hopefully these changes will ensure that we now have solid support for SB 139 in the state Senate. Clearly everyone has had ample opportunity to hear the arguments on both sides of this issue, so additional changes to this bill are unlikely.”
SB 139 passed the Senate Wednesday by a 34 to 14 vote. 32 votes are needed to override a veto if the governor rejects this version of the bill.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SB 139
- Prohibits taxpayer dollars, state-run hospitals, or state employees from being used to perform abortions, except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.
- Prohibits state employees from “encouraging” a woman to have an abortion. However, this does not prevent physicians from discussing abortion as a medical option.
- Requires abortionists to file reports showing they are following state law, such as Oklahoma’s parental consent and informed consent laws.