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State House approves abortion legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Anti-abortion legislation that supporters said will reduce the number of abortions performed in Oklahoma was passed by the Oklahoma House Thursday and sent to the state Senate, where the measures are likely to face strong opposition.

In bipartisan votes, the House overwhelmingly approved bills that require girls under 18 to get their parents' permission before they get an abortion and require that women who are 20 weeks or more pregnant be informed that their fetus could experience pain during an abortion.

The fetal pain bill would also require that a woman be counseled about the option of anesthesia for the fetus to alleviate pain.

Both measures were opposed by the Legislature's only physician, Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, who said they will burden doctors with paperwork, interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and bloat the size of government.

``I am pro life,'' said Cox, an emergency medicine physician at Integris Grove General Hospital. ``I have delivered more than 800 babies. I have never done an abortion. I will never do an abortion.''

But doctors who counsel women and teens with unwanted pregnancies will be burdened with the same restrictions as the physicians who perform abortions, he said.

``This bill is not about right to life. It's about more government. I'm for less government. This bill is Big Brother at its best,'' Cox said.

Cox said the parental consent bill will create problems for some young women who are victims of incest. He read an e-mail from a retired physician who said he found that the majority of girls age 8-12 who became pregnant were victims of incest.

``That makes me want to vomit,'' he said.

Supporters said they hope the new restrictions will deter women from getting abortions.

``I think it will hopefully result in some abortions not being performed,'' said Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, author of the fetal pain bill.

The bills now go to the Senate where similar anti-abortion bills have died in committee.
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