Oklahoma Senate overrides abortion info veto
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
5/25/10 at 3:03 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday completed an override of Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of a controversial abortion bill.
The Senate action came after the House voted Monday to override Henry’s veto of House Bill 3284.
The measure requires women seeking abortions to provide a host of personal information that will be reported statistically on a public web site without identifying the women.
The Senate vote was 33-15. The House vote was 84-13.
“It is disappointing because every veto override just triggers more lawsuits and legal bills for taxpayers,” said Paul Sund, a Henry spokesman. “Similar abortion laws passed by the Legislature were challenged and thrown out by the courts last year, and the latest versions are probably headed for the same fate.”
The GOP-controlled Legislature has now overridden three abortion bill vetoes by the Democratic governor this session.
Supporters said the measure is necessary to learn the underlying causes of abortion and ways to prevent the procedure.
Critics said it is an effort to harass and intimidate women and a hot-button issue for campaigning in this year’s elections.
Information that a woman will have to provide includes marital status, age, race, education, number of births, number of miscarriages, number of induced abortions and type of abortion.
“I don’t think there is a real honest, genuine effort in this building to prevent abortion,” said Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City. Sincere efforts would have resulted in more education about how pregnancies occur and providing contraceptives, he said.
“This bill treats women like second-class citizens,” said Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah. “It kicks women around.”
He called the series of abortion bills “campaign rhetoric.”
Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, said money spent to collect and publish the information could have better been used to fund senior nutrition programs, education and health care.
“Come election time, you won’t be as comfortable as you think,” McIntyre said.
“Who has the right to silence to death so many?” said Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City. “Not any of us. As the father of five, three of whom are adopted orphans, I know there are other choices we can make to protect life rather than to kill it.”
Sen. Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, said he knew voting for the override was a safe vote politically, but he found the questionnaire “appalling.”
“Most of you know my record,” Reynolds said. “I fight against government intrusion.”
Tony Lauinger, Oklahomans for Life chairman, said the bill will be helpful in providing more information about why women seek abortions and ways to prevent it.
“We believe this law will help keep women safer because it provides for the reporting of complications from abortions,” Lauinger said. “This is an area about which very little is known.”