April 23, 2010

If you're a woman in Oklahoma who wants an abortion for any reason, including rape and incest, steel yourself. The Oklahoma state legislature, following in the footsteps of its Utah and Kansas brethren, has just mandated vaginal probes before any abortion procedure can be done by any doctor in Oklahoma. When the governor inks these little gems into law, women can take their rightful place as second-class citizens with second-class rights.

One of the laws headed to the governor would require doctors to use a vaginal probe in cases where it would provide a clearer picture of the fetus than a regular ultrasound. Doctors have said this is usually the case early in pregnancies, when most abortions are done.

There's only one reason to get a "clearer picture". They want to heap a coal bin of guilt on any woman who dares to seek an abortion. If the probe doesn't keep her away, the 38-question cross-examination of her motives, background, race, education, and number of previous pregnancies might. If the probe and the questionnaire don't do the trick, the mandatory signs with mandatory font sizes with mandatory anti-abortion reminders might. And if all of those don't do the trick, maybe the cost of the procedure, which would likely double with the mandatory transvaginal ultrasound tacked on might, because they also voted to ban abortion coverage under state insurance exchanges under the new health care law.

Did I mention there were no exceptions for rape and incest? Imagine your daughter going through something like that. In typical religious right hypocrisy, these laws are intended to reflect "society's" belief that all children should be born even when 20% of them will be born into poverty and want, where society will abandon them to their own devices. The right is terrific at protecting fetuses. Children? Not so much.

The ultimate irony to hearing the teabaggers whine about government-run health care? Watching their state legislators create government-run health care. But only for women, of course. The men are secure in their right to Viagra.

UPDATED 4/23/10: Via NewsOK:

Gov. Brad Henry on Friday vetoed House Bill 2780, the ultrasound measure, and House Bill 2656, which would have banned lawsuits that claim a baby was better off aborted.

But it's not over till it's over...

An attempt will be made to override the governor’s vetoes of two anti-abortion measures, including one that would have required women to hear a description of an ultrasound examination before an abortion could be performed, House Speaker Chris Benge said Friday.

An override may not be all that difficult:

It will require more lawmakers to override this year’s vetoes. A two-thirds majority was needed in each chamber to override the 2008 veto. Because both HB 2780 and HB 2656 contained clauses that would have made them take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature, it will take a three-fourths majority in each chamber to override either veto.

Both bills passed the Oklahoma house with a 90% margin. But to override the governor's veto in the Senate, 36 votes are needed. Both measures passed the senate on a 35-11 vote. They'll have to pick up one more vote to override. Who knows whether they will or not.

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