(PRESS RELEASE) This evening, the Oklahoma legislature adjourned for the session without overriding Governor Brad Henry’s veto of an abortion insurance bill. Among other things, the legislation would have banned insurers planning to participate in the new federal insurance exchange from offering abortion coverage. “After a string of setbacks in the legislature, we are very pleased that the governor’s veto will stand. Health insurance is supposed to allow people to protect themselves when unpredictable and expensive healthcare costs arise, not ignore those health needs and take that protection away,” said Jordan Goldberg, state legislative counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The legislature has been on a dangerous rampage against women in the state, passing a host of restrictions that profoundly disregard their rights and health. Governor Henry on the other hand has continued to stand up for Oklahoma women, their health and privacy. It’s about time that the legislature did the same.”
The insurance bill is the eighth abortion restriction passed by the legislature this session. Governor Henry vetoed four of the bills, including the most extreme ultrasound and reporting requirements in the country. The reporting law requires doctors to inquire about the most private aspects of the life of a woman seeking an abortion, touching on about 90 different factors including her race and ethnicity, and whether financial or relationship problems are the reason she is planning to have an abortion. That information will then be published on a public website. The legislature voted to override the governor’s veto of the reporting bill earlier this week. The Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging the ultrasound requirement which forces a woman seeking an abortion to hear in detail a description of an ultrasound image, even if she objects. A preliminary injunction hearing is set in the case for July 19.