The state Senate passed a bill today which bans the use of state facilities to perform abortions.
Senate Bill 139, originally written to create an umbilical cord blood bank, was approved by a vote of 34-14. The abortion language was inserted by the House, which passed the measure by a wide margin on Monday. The House had to suspend the rules to adopt the new language.
The bill, while banning the procedure, would allow state facilities to perform abortions to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. It also requires that miscarriages be tracked.
The vote came about after the Senate failed twice to override Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of Senate Bill 714, which was the original anti-abortion bill, but without exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest.
Debate on the bill was long and passionate. Democrats pleaded the bill creates class discrimination.
“We’re picking on poor and middle-class people,” said Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah.
Sen. Jim Williamson, R-Tulsa, argued the bill was in the best interest of Oklahoma.
“The taxpayers of Oklahoma should not be in the business of abortions,” Williamson said.
The bill now heads to the governor. “Scott Cooper