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STATE POLITICS & POLICY | Oklahoma House Approves Omnibus Antiabortion Bill

STATE POLITICS & POLICY | Oklahoma House Approves Omnibus Antiabortion Bill
[April 4, 2008]

The Oklahoma House on Wednesday approved omnibus antiabortion legislation (SB 1878) that combines several previously passed measures, the AP/ reports (AP/, 4/2).

Under the bill, sponsored by Rep. Pam Peterson (R), health care workers would have the right to refuse to participate in acts that are contrary to the person's religious beliefs or moral convictions, and employers would not be able to "discriminate" against health care workers who exercise this right to refuse. The measure also would require an ultrasound prior to a woman obtaining an abortion, with an explicit provision that allows a woman to avert her eyes. In addition, the bill specifies that only physicians can prescribe mifepristone and that the physician must promptly provide a written report of adverse events to appropriate state medical boards.

The bill also requires any "private office, freestanding outpatient clinic, or other facility or clinic" in which abortions are performed to "conspicuously" post a sign that is "at least three-quarters of an inch boldfaced type" in each patient waiting room and patient consultation room used by abortion patients. The sign must state that it is "against the law for anyone, regardless of his or her relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion." Another section of the proposed law requires that a physician must inform a pregnant female minor that "no one can force her to have an abortion" and that an abortion cannot be provided "unless she provides her freely given, voluntary and informed consent" (SB 1878 text, 4/3). The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration, the AP/ reports (AP/, 4/2).