Fetal heartbeat bill clears House, heads to governor
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Thursday, April 19, 2012
4/19/12 at 2:37 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state House passed a bill Thursday requiring doctors to allow women seeking abortions to listen to the heartbeats of their fetuses.
The fetal heartbeat proposal -- Senate Bill 1274 -- passed on a 75-12 vote.
"This is to allow a woman to have fully informed consent," said Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa. "Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, you should be for this bill."
Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, said requiring doctors to offer the opportunity to hear a fetal heartbeat can make a big difference in the decisions of women considering abortions.
"It changes things. It changes their minds. Suddenly, they realize that they are mothers right now," Hamilton said.
But opponents of the proposal pointed out that it largely duplicates existing law and does so more weakly.
Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, said the previously passed fetal ultrasound law has stronger requirements, more likely to give women considering abortions full knowledge of the situation.
The only new element of the proposal is one that puts doctors at risk of frivolous lawsuits from people outside the examination room on the supposition that the doctor didn't offer the woman a chance to hear the fetal heartbeat.
"What should we do with this bill?" Cox asked House members, and then he tore the proposal in two and let the pieces float to the ground.
Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, argued that the three doctors in the state who currently provide abortions are already doing everything required by the proposal.
With House passage, the bill goes to Gov. Mary Fallin for consideration.
After passing the fetal heartbeat bill, the House adjourned and House Republicans and Democrats went into caucus meetings.
The House reconvened at noon, heard one bill and adjourned.
Oklahoma State Representative Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa. Courtesy