Does a controversial new Oklahoma law encourage doctors to lie to patients who are pregnant? The measure prevents patients from seeking damages against physicians who fail to disclose information about a problematic fetus due to fear that the patient might want an abortion.
"So, say your baby is perfectly healthy," Washington Post blogger Rachel Manteuffel writes. "Ordinarily, this news is cause for celebration. But in Oklahoma, your doctor might be lying when he tells you that. You could get a second opinion, of course, which, in Oklahoma, might also be a lie."
Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, initially vetoed the law in the bill stage, but the mostly Republican Oklahoma legislature overrode it.
A separate measure would require a women seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus. Henry also vetoed that bill but state lawmakers again overrode it. Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich ultimately put it on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed against the state by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.
"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," Henry said. "To do so amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy."
Oklahoma state senator Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City) disagrees with the governor and the decision to put the law on hold.
"It is striking that a pro-abortion organization based in New York believes they know what is best for Oklahomans and will go to the expense of filing suit over a bill that passed both legislative bodies by wide, bipartisan margins," Coffee said, according to OKGazette.com. "The left consistently claims that education and more information is always beneficial for our citizens. Now we pass a bill which would provide more information for a woman contemplating the decision to end a life growing inside of her, and we hear them claim that more information is not beneficial in this case."
The law will be put on hold for 45 days to allow the state to prepare a defense of the law. State Attorney General Drew Edmondson agreed to the court order.
For more information:
- read this Washington Post blog post
- read this OKGazette.com piece
- read over the two Oklahoma laws: HB 2656 and HB 2780
- check out this brief via Tulsa World
- read this Associated Press article, via Fox News
- here's another AP article