After judge’s temporary injunction, Rep. Billy defends ultrasound mandate

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 19-Jul-2010

This morning (Moday, July 19), Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the new state law requiring performance of an ultrasound before an abortion procedure is performed.

State Rep. Lisa Billy of Lindsay, author of law, sent CapitolBeatOK this statement on Monday afternoon:

“The judge’s decision to temporarily block enforcement of the pro-life law until a hearing has been completed is fairly standard given the legal process. However, I believe this common-sense law will ultimately be upheld.”

Rep. Billy continued, “Abortion providers have acknowledged in legal filings that they routinely perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion; this law merely provides women the opportunity to view the ultrasound if they wish, and hear a description of it. Opponents of this law contradict themselves by arguing that a woman is capable of choosing to have an abortion, but not emotionally capable of dealing with all relevant medical information. That is, quite simply, an outdated and sexist attitude straight from the horse-and-buggy era.”

Billy concluded, “Women do not need a paternalistic abortion industry to make their decisions for them. For truly informed consent to occur, abortion providers cannot be allowed to withhold relevant medical information from patients.”

Although Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the measure (House Bill 2780) after it cleared the Legislature in spring 2010, both the House and Senate easily overrode his vetoes. The House voted 81-14 to override, while the Senate vote was 36-12. In both chambers, significant numbers of Democrats joined Republicans to support the pro-life measures.

Vetoes normally require only a two-thirds vote in each chamber. In this case three-quarters was required due to “emergency clause” provisions attached to each of the bills.

The overrides secured more than three-fourths support in both the House and Senate.