OKLAHOMA CITY, March 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two important pro-life measures that which would restrict late-term abortions and opt the state out of coverage for elective abortions in the new national health care law have made their way out of committees in the Oklahoma legislature.
The first measure, HB 1888, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, has passed the House Public Health Committee and heads to the full House for a floor vote.
The measure is sponsored in the House by Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa) and in the Senate by Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond). It would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization on the basis of medical evidence that an unborn child feels pain by at least that point.
The law requires abortionists to perform tests and determine the gestational age of an unborn child before committing an abortion. It only allows an exception if an abortionist certifies that continuing pregnancy would seriously risk “death of the pregnant woman or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
The law also specifies that an abortionist ending a pregnancy after 20 weeks gestation must actually try to deliver the unborn baby in a way that gives the child the best opportunity to survive outside the womb. If he cannot do this, the abortionist must certify that delivery would “pose a greater risk either of the death of the pregnant woman or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function” than abortion. The judgment to abort cannot include “psychological or emotional conditions of the woman.”
Another bill, the Abortion-Is-Not-Health-Care (SB 547) act, was approved by the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee. It would opt the state out of having to allow coverage for elective abortion under the national health care law championed by President Barack Obama: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The measure would not only prohibit coverage for elective abortions in Oklahoma health-insurance plans, but it also is intended to protect the conscience rights of pro-life individuals, so that they do not have to pay any part of their premiums to abortion coverage.
Oklahomans for Life, a state right-to-life group advocating on behalf the bill, says the measure is important to reaffirm the principle that abortion is not “health care.”
The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Sykes (R-Newcastle) and Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow).
Both chambers of the Oklahoma legislature have bipartisan pro-life majorities. The 2010 election of pro-life Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, replacing outgoing pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Brad Henry, means pro-life legislation will have much smoother sailing.
Last year, pro-life Republicans and Democrats teamed up to override repeatedly Henry’s vetoes of critical pro-life legislation.