NRL News

Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill to Strengthen Women’s Right to Know Law

by | May 11, 2012

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

By Dave Andrusko

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed House Bill 2561, which strengthens
the state’s woman’s right to know law.

The law allows civil action to be taken against abortion providers who do
not provide pregnant women the information required under the state’s
informed consent law, or if something goes wrong during the abortion.


The bill passed the House 89-0 and the Senate by a margin of 33-9. The
law takes effect September 1.

“This gives women additional rights when they are being informed,” Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, the bill’s author, told The Oklahoman newspaper. “No one wants a girl to be tricked into having an abortion.”

In addition to a 24-hour waiting period Oklahoma’s “A Woman’s Right to
Know” law requires abortionists (including those that perform chemical /RU486 abortions) to provide information about the baby’s development; medical risks associated with the abortion technique; alternatives; the financial obligations of the father; and the fact that that the baby can feel pain after 20 weeks gestation.

Moreover, under Oklahoma’s 2010 Ultrasound Act, abortionists must
position the ultrasound screen at an angle so that the mother can view the images, if she chooses. The law also requires that the abortionist “provide[s] a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”

Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, directs NRLC’s Department of State Legislation.  She said that civil remedies are a crucial component of pro-life legislation.

“For whatever reason—maybe because they think abortion is
too ‘controversial’ or perhaps because they are personally pro-abortion— prosecutors are often unwilling to bring criminal charges against abortionists even when they are warranted,” Balch said. “Laws like Oklahoma’s are a strong reinforcement, reminding abortionists they are obliged to follow the law whether they want to or not.”

When the bill was on its way to the governor’s desk, Tony Lauinger, State
Chairman of Oklahomans for Life & Executive Vice-President of the National Right to Life Committee, told NRL News Today, “We have been trying to find the best way to ensure that those doing abortions in Oklahoma are obeying the various laws that have been enacted by our legislature regarding parental involvement, informed consent, etc.”

He added, “This Civil Remedies law, we believe, is the answer.
Oklahomans For Life’s Vice Chairman Kevin Calvey deserves a great vote of thanks for developing this approach and guiding it through the process.”

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