Oklahoma keeps No. 2 rank among most-pro-life states
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 5:36 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma retained its second-place ranking on Americans United for Life's list of most-pro-life states, coming in behind only Louisiana.
The organization ranks states based on efforts to "create and sustain a culture of life." The list was released Thursday.
"Americans United for Life has been leading the way in innovative legislation that protects women and girls from a profit-hungry big abortion industry, bloated with taxpayer dollars," said Charmaine Yoest, the organization's president and CEO. "I predict we'll see a large number of bills this year that also work to protect the First Amendment freedom of all Americans who do not want to be forced into business with big abortion."
Tony Lauinger, Oklahomans for Life state chairman, said that although he is not affiliated with the national group, he is not surprised by the ranking.
The National Right to Life Committee, with which he is affiliated, has said in recent years that it regarded Oklahoma as the most-pro-life state, Lauinger said.
Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma executive director, said the ranking demonstrates that the state has one of the least favorable environments for women's heath care.
"I would encourage any organization that purports to be concerned with women and women's health to actually support measures that empower women to make health-care decisions with their doctors rather than substituting doctors' wisdom with political maneuvers," Kiesel said.
Denise Burke, vice president of legal affairs for Americans United for Life, said, "Oklahoma continues to rank at the top of the Life List because of the great strides that it has made in recent years to protect women and the unborn from the harms inherent in abortion."
Last month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court tossed out two laws putting restrictions on abortions. One would have required any woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and have it explained to her within an hour before the procedure. The other would have put restrictions on drugs that have been called abortion-inducing.
At least one "personhood" bill already has been filed for the legislative session that begins Feb. 4.
"Personhood," a concept popular among abortion-rights opponents, holds that individual rights and constitutional protections begin at conception.
Last year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court halted efforts to put to a vote of the people a proposed constitutional amendment that would have said life begins at conception.
Original Print Headline: Oklahoma keeps its No. 2 rank among most-pro-life states
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465