In a performance that is nearly a direct repeat from last year, the Oklahoma House overrode Governor Brad Henry’s veto of two anti-choice laws approved by the legislature.
One of these two laws would require that all women seeking to terminate a pregnancy undergo a manadatory ultrasound, often vaginal, as well as hear a detailed description of the development of the fetus. The other would prohibit pregnant women and their families from seeking legal damages if physicians knowingly or negligently withheld important information or provided inaccurate information to them about their pregnancy. Both were vetoed and declared to be likely unconstitutional by the governor, as Jodi Jacobson reported last week.
“HB 2780 represents an unconstitutional attempt by the Oklahoma Legislature to insert government into the private lives and decisions of its citizens. 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,” the governor said in his veto message.
“Because a similar provision of law has already been struck down by the courts, this legislation will be challenged again, resulting in a costly and potentially futile legal battle for the state.”
“By prohibiting recovery of damages in wrongful birth and life malpractice actions, the legislation would allow unscrupulous, reckless or negligent physicians to knowingly withhold information or negligently provide inaccurate information to pregnant women without facing the potential of legal consequences. At the very least, pregnant women and their families should expect to receive accurate, comprehensive information from their doctor so they can make appropriate medical decisions. It is unconscionable to grant a physician legal protection to mislead or misinform a pregnant woman in an effort to impose his or her personal beliefs on his patient,” said the governor.
The Oklahoma senate also voted to override the governor’s veto. Although one vote was still be in the air prior to the vote, Senate Democratic Leader Charlie Laster did decide to vote with the majority, despite his misgivings.