Saturday, May 22, 2010

A belated half-win for abortion rights in Oklahoma?

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Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry (D)
Okla. Gov. Brad Henry (D)

I’ve spent a few previous posts commenting on the worsening state of abortion rights in Oklahoma, notably how the Republican-dominated legislature made sure to ram through two oppressive anti-abortion bills, despite Gov. Brad Henry’s (D) attempt to veto them. As difficult and discomforting as seeking and obtaining an abortion in The Sooner State may now be, women who do get their unwanted pregnancies terminated can at least be thankful that they won’t be required to fill out lengthy and intrusive questionnaires prior to the procedure, and that the personal information given won’t be shared with everyone on the Internet. This, thanks (once again) to Gov. Henry, who just vetoed another Orwellian measure that would’ve demanded just that.

In his veto message, Henry said again he supported reasonable restrictions on abortion, but that HB 3284 had several flaws, including the lack of an exemption for rape and incest victims.

“By forcing rape and incest victims to submit to a personally invasive questionnaire and posting the answers on a state website, this legislation will only increase the trauma of an already traumatic event. Victims of such horrific acts should be treated with dignity and respect in such situations, as should all people,” Henry said.

As with before, his reasoning seems a bit convoluted and incomplete – so he supports exemptions in these oppressive measures for victims of rape or incestuous molestation, but what about, well, everyone else? Shouldn’t women who seek elective abortions, for whatever reason, also not need to share their private information on the Web?

Whatever his rationale may be, it certainly is better than that of those typical Rethuglicans who desire nothing more than to legislate their way into a world without abortion (or gay marriage, or Separation of Church and State, or freedom of speech, or …). However, trouble may once again be brewing on the horizon, as such as with the last time Gov. Henry vetoed anti-abortion measures, the promise of a Republican override vote is one that’s all too real:

The House of Representatives passed the measure 88-8. The Senate passed it 32-11.

It will require a two-thirds vote of members in each chamber to override the governor’s veto. A veto override will require 68 votes in the House and 32 votes in the Senate.

Color me pessimistic, but I have a bad feeling about this. Those votes sound way too easy to reach.

(via @todayspolitics)