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Oklahoma legislature overrides veto of anti-abortion bills

The Oklahoma State Senate [official website] on Tuesday voted 36-12 to override Governor Brad Henry's veto of two anti-abortion bills that will now immediately become law. The first bill [HB 2526 text, RTF] would prevent "wrongful life" lawsuits in which parents seek damages for a child born with a birth defect because the mother was unable to obtain an abortion. The second bill [HB 2780 text, RTF] would require doctors to conduct a vaginal ultrasound at least one hour prior to an abortion while displaying and explaining the images. The 48-member senate just met the minimum of three-quarters majority required to override an executive veto. The senate's vote comes one day after the House of Representatives [official website] voted 84-12 to override the veto [press release].

The Oklahoma Senate voted to approve [JURIST report] five anti-abortion bills last week, sending three to Henry for his approval and returning two to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives [official website]. Pending House approval, two additional bills would require a woman to answer 38 questions [HB 3284 text, RTF], including why she is seeking an abortion, and prohibit state health plans from covering elective abortions [HB 3290 text, RTF]. The Oklahoma laws join another restrictive abortion law passed recently in Nebraska, which bans abortions after 20 weeks [JURIST report].

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