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Oklahoma House passes two pro-life bills

by | Mar 13, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday passed two pro-life bills, one to make it possible for a parent to know about his or her minor daughter’s intended abortion and a second to strengthen an already strong abortion reporting law.

HB 1588–the Parental Notification for Abortion Act– requires that a parent of a minor be notified before an abortion can be performed on her. HB 1588 passed on a vote of 80-12.

Currently a minor girl under 18 in Oklahoma can go to court to obtain a “judicial bypass” which enables her to avoid informing a parent. The procedure is in every sense of the term a “rubber stamp” as such requests are almost uniformly granted.

HB 1588 does not include a judicial bypass.

In January NRLC Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, explained that

“Activists on both sides of the abortion issue recognize that, in practice, the judicial bypass is nothing more than a rubber stamp proceeding in which abortions are kept secret from parents and are almost invariably authorized. In Minnesota, interviews with minors at four abortion clinics revealed that 43% of the girls used the court bypass option that is part of that state’s parental notification statute. Of the 3,573 bypass petitions filed in the Minnesota courts when the parental notice law was in effect from August 1, 1981 to March 1, 1986, 3,558 were granted.  Six of those petitions were withdrawn before decision; only nine were denied. Judge Allen Oleisky has heard over 1,000 of these petitions.  He describes his role at the bypass hearing as ‘a routine clerical function on my part, just like putting my seal and stamp on it.’”

A second bill, the Abortion-Reporting-Law Update (HB 2015) incorporates reporting requirements relating to new pro-life laws which have been passed since the original reporting law was enacted three years ago. HB 2015  passed  by a vote of 79-15.

Commenting on the Parental Notification bill, Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger noted, “While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a parental-consent law must have a judicial-bypass option, the Court has never ruled that a parental-notification law is required to have a judicial-bypass option.  A young girl needs the advice and counsel of a parent at such a time.”

Both measures now move on to the State Senate.

Categories: Legislation