March 7, 2012 — The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday voted 34-8 to approve a bill (SB 1274) that would require doctors to tell women that they have a right to hear the fetal heartbeat before an abortion, Reuters reports. The bill now advances to the House, where abortion-rights opponents significantly outnumber abortion-rights supporters, according to Reuters (Olafson, Reuters, 3/6).
Sen. Dan Newberry (R), the author of the bill, removed language that would have mandated that women listen to the fetal heartbeat (Weinger, Politico, 3/7).
Martha Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said, "They're trying to shame or humiliate women who exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy."
The bill is the second measure restricting abortion rights that the Senate has approved this year (Reuters, 3/6). Last month, the chamber passed a bill (SB 1433) that would grant fertilized eggs "all the rights, privileges and immunities" of citizens (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/17). Supporters of SB 1433 expect it to pass the House (Reuters, 3/6).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.