Oklahoma abortion wars continue with third veto

by on May 22, 2010  •  In Reproductive rights

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry vetoed a restrictive abortion bill for the third time this legislative session, at least temporarily stopping a new law that would require women obtaining an abortion to furnish lengthy information, including their reasons for wanting to end the pregnancy. Under HB 3284, the survey responses (without the women's names or addresses) must be posted on the state's website. The bill passed the legislature overwhelmingly, suggesting that an attempt to override the veto may be successful. If it is, a lawsuit is likely.

Lawmakers approved a similar measure last year, but an Oklahoma state court judge first granted a TRO against its enforcement and then found it unconstitutional because it violated the state’s single-subject rule. Another TRO obtained less than a month ago blocked a second Oklahoma anti-abortion law requiring that women be shown an ultra-sound image of the fetus. Both of those bills had also been vetoed by Governor Henry, but the vetoes were overridden.

From local news:

House Bill 3284, which is similar to an earlier measure that was ruled unconstitutional by the courts,…would have forced women, including rape and incest victims, to participate in an intimate and detailed questionnaire about their pregnancy and personal life in order to obtain an abortion, the governor said. The legislation also would have mandated that the questionnaire answers be posted on the Health Department’s website.

In his veto message, Henry said again he supported reasonable restrictions on abortion, but that HB 3284 had several flaws, including the lack of an exemption for rape and incest victims.

“By forcing rape and incest victims to submit to a personally invasive questionnaire and posting the answers on a state website, this legislation will only increase the trauma of an already traumatic event. Victims of such horrific acts should be treated with dignity and respect in such situations, as should all people,” Henry said….

The House of Representatives passed the measure 88-8. The Senate passed it 32-11. It will require a two-thirds vote of members in each chamber to override the governor’s veto. A veto override will require 68 votes in the House and 32 votes in the Senate.


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