Oklahoma has overrode two bills vetoed by the senator today. This override puts the bills into effect immediately. The first bill will require all women interested in getting an abortion to receive an ultrasound, and hear a detailed description of what it shows. I can understand getting an ultrasound for that sort of procedure. That just seems healthy to me, to make sure nothing else is wrong before the doctors go muddling around in there. Giving a speech on the results of that ultrasound just seems like a cruel ploy to force a woman to back out of the procedure. I can see how easily this description could be turned into something more like a pro-life advertisement seen at a protest outside an abortion clinic. Rape and incest victims must also go through this ultrasound and description.Governor Brad Henry says, “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.” As a woman who has been through the abortion procedure before, I know firsthand the sort of trauma involved. It is not a matter to be taken lightly. Putting more pressure on an already traumatic experience is entirely unnecessary.
The second bill the Oklahoma Senate overrode deals with possible misinformation spread by physicians to pregnant women. Women and their families are not allowed to seek legal damages if the physician “knowingly and negligently” withholds information concerning the pregnancy. This could particularly be an issue with fetuses with disabilities and the elective abortions sometimes performed at that point. If a doctor withholds information from parents after an elective abortion has been discussed due to a disability with the fetus, that doctor is not responsible.The fear of reprisal is seen in this bill. It has been said that any parent could accuse their doctor of withholding information during the pregnancy. Somehow, I don’t think the courts will award the case to anyone throwing around an accusation. I believe evidence must be presented before any verdict is decided. Therefore, this fear of reprisal shouldn’t exist for the innocent.
The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights has already filed a lawsuit to block the bills from being put into use. The lawsuit comes just two hours after the Oklahoma Senate overrode the two bills, citing it as “detrimental to women” and “clearly unconstitutional.”
Amanda Pachta is an enthusiatic writer and blogs at The Complicated Life.