House overrides Henry vetoes of pro-life bills

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 26-Apr-2010

A bipartisan group of House members voted overwhelmingly today to override two gubernatorial vetoes of pro-life bills. Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two abortion-related bills Friday, and the House voted to override at the first opportunity Monday (April 26).

“I am proud that the House moved quickly in support of the sanctity of life by overriding the veto of these important pieces of pro-life legislation. This is clearly not a partisan issue,” said House Speaker Chris Benge, a Republican from Tulsa. “We must move to stop the degradation of human life seen in recent years and stand up for those who cannot defend themselves.”

House Bill 2780, by state Rep. Lisa Billy, requires that doctors provide women information obtained from an ultrasound prior to performing an abortion. A press release from advocates of the bill, sent to CapitolBeatOK this afternoon, contended that although ultrasounds are already routinely conducted immediately prior to an abortion, those pictures and the information obtained from the ultrasound are not provided to women.

“This legislation does nothing more than give women as much information as possible before they make the life-altering decision to have an abortion,” said Billy, a Purcell Republican. “I don’t want a single woman to go through the life-long torture of having an abortion without having all the relevant information.”

She said research has shown that many women, after seeing an ultrasound, will opt to have a child. The House voted 81-14 to override the governor’s veto, which was above the three-fourths vote required.

The House also voted to override the veto of House Bill 2656, by state Rep. Dan Sullivan, which makes it illegal to sue a doctor claiming “wrongful birth” because the doctor failed to convince the mother to abort a child.

“This bill simply states that a doctor cannot be sued based on the opinion after birth that a child would have been better off if he or she had been aborted,” said Sullivan, another Tulsa Republican. “A bipartisan coalition of members supported this bill the first time, and I am pleased they did again today.”

The House voted to override the veto 84-12, again well above the three-fourths of the body required to override.

Both bills will return to the Senate for override consideration. The original Senate vote on both measures was 35-11. All Senate Republicans present and voting backed the two bills when they first moved through the Legislature this year.

Pro-life advocates will need all 10 Senate Democrats who also supported both measures to prevail on the override attempt, due to the three-fourths “emergency clause” provision attached to each bill.

NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.