Pro-life leaders promise override attempts after governor’s veto

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 23-Apr-2010

House sponsors responded rapidly to Governor Brad Henry veto today (Friday, April 23) of two anti-abortion measures.

State Rep. Lisa Billy of Purcell, sponsor of the proposal to require that ultrasounds be provided for women before procuring abortion, said, “For women facing an unplanned pregnancy, there is often a sense of distress, panic and fear that can drive people to make hasty decisions without considering long-term consequences. This legislation will empower those expectant mothers by giving them as much information as possible – in advance – before they make an irrevocable, life-altering decision.”

Billy said, “Women should have the choice to see that image, and to deny them that opportunity is baffling.”

She continued, “We simply should not deny women this important medical information. The image of your baby provides amazing clarity of thought. What was seen as a closed door suddenly becomes a world of endless possibilities.”

Rep. Billy’s proposal, House Bill 2780 passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 87-7 and cleared the Senate 35-11.

House Bill 2656, by state Rep. Dan Sullivan of Tulsa, would have made it illegal to sue a doctor claiming “wrongful birth.”

“This is a simple, noncontroversial bill that did not prevent lawsuits for wrongful actions that actually harm a child, and it received broad bipartisan support,” said Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican. “To argue that a child would be better off dead than given a chance at life is a gross perversion of our justice system and should never be a legitimate basis for suing a doctor.”

Sullivan’s proposal, House Bill 2656, passed the House 94-4 and cleared the Senate 35-11.

House Speaker Chris Benge echoed the views of his two colleagues. In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, he observed the vote resulted in “a very disappointing day for Oklahomans who care about maintaining a culture of life in Oklahoma. This issue is not about Democrats and Republicans or left versus right – it’s about doing what’s right, which is why these bills have received strong bipartisan support. We will not give up our efforts to protect the unborn, and will make an attempt to override these vetoes.”

Tony Lauinger, president of Oklahomans for Life, provided CapitolBeatOK with copies of letters he addressed to Gov. Henry earlier this week.

Concerning the ultrasound bill, Lauinger told the governor, “It is important to recognize that an ultrasound prior to an abortion – contrary to the misinformation that is circulating – is definitely NOT an ‘unnecessary medical procedure.’  It is, in fact, standard medical practice, as even the abortion clinic that filed suit against the 2008 law acknowledges.”

Lauinger also argued, “Opponents of this legislation have sought to make the provisions of the bill seem unusual, unreasonable, or invasive.  Performing ultrasounds, using different methods at different times in pregnancy, is, in fact, standard medical practice within the abortion industry.”