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Oklahoma Governor Vetoes Anti-Choice Bills

Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma is a conservative Democrat, but he should be credited for standing up to the forced birth lobby:

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two abortion bills Friday that he said are an unconstitutional attempt by the Legislature to insert government into the private lives and decisions of citizens.

One measure would have required women to undergo an intrusive ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting abortions. Henry said that legislation is flawed because it does not allow rape and incest victims to be exempted […]

Henry said “it would be unconscionable to subject rape and incest victims to such treatment” because it would victimize a victim a second time.

“State policymakers should never mandate that a citizen be forced to undergo any medical procedure against his or her will, especially when such a procedure could cause physical or mental trauma. To do so amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy,” he said […]

The second abortion bill that the governor vetoed Friday was one that would have prohibited pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold important information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy. Supporters of that measure said it was an attempt to keep pregnant women from discriminating against fetuses with disabilities.

But Henry said the bill would allow unscrupulous or negligent physicians to withhold or provide inaccurate information without facing the potential of legal consequences.

It’s entirely possible that Henry will get overridden on his veto. In fact, this has happened before. Henry vetoed the ultrasound bill in 2008, and lawmakers overrode the veto. But a judge in Oklahoma City threw out the bill because it violated the state Constitution. Because anti-choice wingers have no respect for Constitutions, they went ahead and passed basically the same bill again.

Henry is no saint, mind you. He signed a few other abortion-related bills this year:

Henry did sign one abortion bill into law Friday: one requiring abortion clinics to post signs stating it is against the law for anyone to force a woman to have an abortion, and that an abortion will not be performed until the woman gives her voluntary consent.

Earlier this month, Henry signed three other abortion-related bills, including a ban on abortions based on the gender of the child and tighter restrictions on the use of the RU-486 abortion pill.

But he did manage to veto the more egregious ones.

All of this begs the question: does the Oklahoma Legislature have anything else to do besides laws determining the level of control over women’s bodies?

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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