Oklahoman anti-abortion bill diminishes female right to choose

May 17, 2010 — by Christine Bancroft

In a country that treasures above all, its liberty, freedom, justice and equality, a shocking new measure that limits the freedom of women and their choices has been passed by the Oklahoma State Senate. Despite being vetoed by Gov. Brad Henry, the law is being called the “strictest abortion measure in the country” by the National Center for Reproductive Rights, as well as being protested by thousands of women all over the country.

The law itself, which was passed on April 27, demands that women see an ultrasound of their unborn child and hear a detailed description of the fetus less than an hour before the abortion procedure is begun. Psychologically, this is most traumatic to victims of rape, sexual abuse or incest—people who view the fetus as an projection of their attacker or abuser, victimizing them for a second time.

Even in the few days since the bill was passed, heartbreaking stories of women leaving the examination rooms in tears after the ultrasound have popped up on the Internet. Outcries have been heard from women and feminist groups, as well as many health care professionals who have denounced the measure, saying that it is unfair because it treats abortion providers differently than other medical personnel.

A second bill was passed later in the week, also vetoed by Gov. Henry, which eliminates a woman’s right to sue a doctor and seek damages if doctors withhold important information or give inaccurate readings about a woman’s pregnancy. Supporters have said that it was an attempt to keep women from discriminating against fetuses with disabilities, but it does not protect women whose pregnancies are potentially life-threatening.

A court date has been set by the judge presiding over the bill , which is scheduled to be July 19. Until then, the law cannot be enforced. Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich has prevented the bill from taking effect until a verdict is passed.

As a reaction to the bill, many other state governments have started drafting similar bills to limit abortion in reaction to the Obama administration’s new universal health care bill. But instead of trying to protest the bill, states have targeted their backlash against women who are only trying to do what they feel is best for them. Every state that passed one of these bills is pushing female equality movements further and further back.

Many religions, most prominently Catholicism, prohibit abortion, denouncing it as murder. However, to enforce a religion-based idea against members of the community who do not follow or believe in that faith is directly crossing the line between church and state. A church cannot enforce any punishment or actions legally, just how the government cannot force any unwilling participant into a medical examination unless a quarantine is in effect, something that is most definitely not the case during an abortion.

This law, which strips away female rights, cannot be allowed to remain in place. A woman’s right to choose is being the master of her own body and future, whether she cannot financially support the child, the fetus is the product of an assault or abuse, or the child is born into an unsafe home.

The measures that Oklahoma has passed and other states have drafted have exterminated any protections a woman might have had against inaccurate and dangerous information, and the ultrasounds are a second psychological attack if the woman has been abused. Governments have no right to interfere with what a woman feels is best for her life. Instead of protecting all citizens, some politicians have begun to eliminate the rights of all women, one bill at a time.

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