Group Wants Reproductive Decisions Left To Women, Not Oklahoma Lawmakers

Thursday, April 7th 2011, 1:48 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The debate over abortion hit a fever pitch Thursday.

Pro-choice rallies rose up in our nation's capital at the same time as news conferences sounded off across the sooner state.

Right now, there are 16 bills involving abortion that are moving through the House and the Senate.

The Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice invited faith leaders from Tulsa to explain why they are pro-choice.

Reverend Mary McAnally says she was date raped at age 16.

"I had to go to Arkansas to get an illegal abortion. I was rendered unable to have children because of the damage that was done," Reverend Mary McAnally, All Souls Unitarian Church, said.

That testimony is one of the many reasons the coalition is against numerous abortion bills.

Senate Bill 547 would ensure that standard health insurance policies sold in Oklahoma do not include elective abortion coverage. Anyone wanting that option would have to purchase supplemental coverage with a separate premium.

State Representative Mike Ritze authored the bill.

"Basically, we don't feel that other people should have to endure the burden of health insurance costs for elective abortions," he said.

One pro-choice advocate says that bill may be the most egregious.

"Companies will just say forget it and there will be no coverage for women at all," Kelly Jennings said. "Every area that they can, they are cutting it out."

House Bill 1888, or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Bill, would make it illegal to abort an unborn child who is 20 weeks or older.

The only exception is if the mother has a problem which complicates her medical condition to the extent that abortion is necessary to avoid her death or serious injury.

The coalition believes politics don't belong in such a personal conversation.

"The woman needs to talk to her own medical provider, not politicians," Jennings said. "What woman wants a politician coming into her GYN office?"

Other active bills include:

  • House Bill 1548 - Enforces the highest standard for care and safety in abortions clinics.
  • House Bill 1970 - Requires doctors to examine their patients before prescribing an abortion inducing drug.
  • House Bill 1571 - Defines the legal definition of a person to include unborn children.
  • Senate Bill 136 - Outlaws some scientific research on human embryos.
  • House Bill 1642 - Requires an abortion provider to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
  • House Bill 1012 - Protection of Human Life Act, making certain actions with a human embryo unlawful
  • House Bill 1401 - OK Child Protection Act
  • House Bill 1402 - Women's Health Defense Act
  • House Bill 1442 - Destructive Human Embryo Research Act
  • House Bill 1468 - Clarifies language pertaining to abortion physicians and the number of weeks an unborn child shall be presumed to be viable for an abortion
  • Senate Bill 546 - Inalienable Right to Life Act
  • House Bill 1466 - Modifies the presumption for viability of an unborn child
  • House Bill 2020 - Unborn Wrongful Death Act
  • Senate Joint Resolution 43 -- Constitutional amendment defining who is a "person"