Governor Brad Henry issued a veto of Senate Bill 1878, an Omnibus Anti-Abortion Bill on the evening of Wednesday April 16, 2008. The Oklahoma State Senate voted 37-11 to override the veto on Thursday, April 17, 2008. Less than an hour later, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 81-15 to override.
Among the worst of the provisions of the new law are the following:
It requires doctors to perform vaginal ultrasounds prior to every abortion procedure. Patients have no choice in the matter. Oklahoma is currently state with such a law.
A woman’s right to receive urgent medical treatment would be impeded at a hospital if an employee refused to treat her based on moral or religious grounds.
A woman's right to receive an non-surgical abortion using medication can be restricted by limiting a doctor's ability to administer the drug and hampering the physician's discretion to determine appropriate medical care. This non-surgical method of terminating early pregnancy has been proven to be both safe and effective.
The ACLU of Oklahoma was successful at urging many people contact Governor Henry to urge his veto of Senate Bill 1878. In addition, the ACLU sent hundreds of letters to constituents in targeted legislative districts asking constituents to contact their Senators to request that they support Governor Henry's veto.
The ACLU of Oklahoma is grateful to everyone who worked to preserve reproductive choice. Even though recent developments are disheartening, it is important to be prepared for future legislative struggles.