Pro-life bills stalled by Oklahoma Senate

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The Republican-controlled Oklahoma House has passed several important pro-life bills, but they're being held up by a Democrat Senate committee chairman, according to Rep. Kevin Calvey's "Capitol Update":

House Republicans Move forward with Pro-Life Legislation, despite Senate Maneuvers

Joined by a woman who shared her personal story about abortion, House Republican leaders said today they would continue to press for pro-life legislation during the 2005 session.

"These issues surpass party lines," said Rep. Kevin Calvey (R-Del City), author of House Bill 1543, the Women's Right to Know and the Family Protection Act. "Unfortunately, Senate leadership today attempted to brush off these issues entirely by passing a watered-down bill at the eleventh hour.

"Senate Democrats apparently do not realize the widespread support across the state for these measures. They've garnered bi-partisan support here in the House, and it's time for the will of the people to be respected."

Three pro-life measures have bogged down in the Senate after receiving overwhelming support in the House weeks ago. Earlier today, a Senate committee passed a watered-down measure, in an attempt to distract attention from core reforms.

The bills that have failed to receive a hearing in the Senate are:

* HB 1257 - The Oklahoma Unborn Victim of Violence Act, a "Laci & Conner Peterson" law.
* HB 1258 - Establishes a criminal punishment for anyone other than a physician who distributes a pill to induce an abortion.
* HB 1543 - Women's Right to Know and the Family Protection Act.

Valeska Littlefield, an outspoken pro-woman advocate and Tulsa resident, today joined lawmakers as she shared her story about having an abortion. HB 1543 would require more thorough counseling for women considering an abortion, a common-sense measure Littlefield said would have changed her decision.

"I regret having had an abortion," said Littlefield. "It is a decision that has affected my entire life. If I had known more at the time, I would have decided to see my pregnancy through."

Other pro-life advocates also spoke in support of Calvey's measure. "The legislation proposed by Representative Calvey is very modest, but badly needed," said Tony Lauinger, state chair of Oklahomans for Life. "The substitute passed this morning in a Senate committee fails to address the urgent need for a woman to be given comprehensive information about the development of her unborn child."

"These measures represent the culture of life in our state, the core values of hardworking Oklahomans," said Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa), the author of HB 1257, a measure to institute a "Laci & Conner Peterson" law in Oklahoma. "And we're not going to relent just because a powerful Senator has decided to ignore the concerns of voters."

HB 1543, the Women's Right to Know and the Family Protection Act, passed the House overwhelmingly in early March. Calvey says the informed consent law would require that a woman considering an abortion would be told by a physician about the medical risks involved with specific procedures, as well as developmental information about the unborn child.

HB 1543 also requires the knowledge of a parent before a minor can receive an abortion. Currently more than half the states in the nation have informed consent laws.

"Oklahomans don't want to see these pro-family issues put on the backburner," said Rep. Lance Cargill (R-Harrah), the House Majority Floor Leader and a strong advocate for pro-life legislation. "These measures offer common-sense solutions to problems, and they should be passed quickly."

Representative Thad Balkman (R-Norman), chair of the House Republican Caucus agreed: "Every Oklahoman understands that criminals should be held accountable for their acts, and that parents should have the right to know about a child's decision. It's time to act on these issues for the betterment of our state."

The powerful senator to whom Rep. Peterson refers is Bernest Cain, Democrat chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee, who infamously compared pro-life Christians to Nazis and called them "the right wing of the Taliban."


W. said:

Yikes. HB 1258 (establishes a criminal punishment for anyone other than a physician who distributes a pill to induce an abortion) is a potential nightmare and shouldn't be touched with a 100-foot pole. Such drugs would include good old-fashioned birth-control pills. I think criminalizing the distribution of such drugs -- which also are prescribed to regulate the menstral cycle and other feminine ills (I've had a close relative with such problems) -- opens a pandora's box of privacy and medical issues that the legislature would be wise to keep closed.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 10, 2005 11:13 PM.

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