Saturday, April 24, 2010

A victory for abortion rights in Oklahoma

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Abortion rights

In the midst of a couple of states passing retarded and immoral bills that are no more or less than infringements of basic civil rights, it’s always nice to see someone diverge from the path and prevent atrocious new laws from being implemented. I now turn you over to Oklahoma, where Gov. Brad Henry (D) just vetoed two ridiculously harsh abortion bills that would have made seeking and obtaining an abortion in the state as intrusive and demeaning a process as abortion rights opponents could make it. One would have required that ultrasounds be done via a vaginal probe, which is about as pleasant as it sounds, and would have forced the unfortunate woman to endure a lengthy lecture about the cute li’l misshapen blob of undeveloped tissue and how abortion is wrong. The the other bill pretty much axed the “ethics” department altogether in that it would’ve “prohibited pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold important information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy”. Which is just Draconian. (Actually, “Draconian” doesn’t sound bad enough to express the disgust such a measure evokes in me.)

It truly is a blessing that these bills were thrown out; however, not all is perfect. For one thing, Gov. Henry’s reasoning behind his veto seems to leave a certain amount to be desired:

Henry said that legislation is flawed because it does not allow rape and incest victims to be exempted.


Henry said "it would be unconscionable to subject rape and incest victims to such treatment" because it would victimize a victim a second time.

"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. To do so amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy," he said.

It’s not exactly clear what his reasoning is; if he vetoed the bills on the grounds that they, especially the first one, would “[amount] to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy”, then I have no problem with this. But, if he only rejected these bills because of a lack of exemptions for rape and incest victims and therefore had no objection to women seeking voluntary abortions enduring such procedures, then there really isn’t all that much good to be said about his rationale.

Still, though, good news is good news, and I’ll gladly take his rejection of these bills even if it may have been for the wrong reasons.

There is another problem, however; naturally, the anti-abortion legislators who spawned these bills are promising to carry out an override vote to try and cancel out Gov. Henry’s veto “as early as next week”. In addition, anti-abortion legislators in the state have a history of succeeding at doing just that: Gov. Henry vetoed “similar legislation” back in 2008 but was indeed overridden by these idiot lawmakers, and only a last-minute court decision that the bills were in violation of the Oklahoma state Constitution stopped them from being becoming law. There’s no telling what will happen this time; with a little luck, the Oklahoma legislature will have gotten a little more progressive since then and votes in favor of overruling the governor’s veto will lack. The 2008 precedent is still discomforting, however.

All in all, you can smile but be sure to keep your fingers crossed nonetheless (so to speak).

(via Fark)