Okla. mandates invasive medical procedures

OKLA. MANDATES INVASIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURES…. It’s fairly common for policymakers who want to ban all abortions, but can’t get away with that legally, to make it as difficult as possible for women to exercise their reproductive rights. But Oklahoma is taking this approach to truly outrageous levels.

The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion.

Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.

This really is remarkable. For all the overheated talk from the right of late about government interfering with medicine, patients’ decisions, and doctors’ treatments, conservatives in Oklahoma have now made this the law in their state.

The thinking among these conservatives is that the image of a regular ultrasound may not be clear enough. Women seeking to terminate their pregnancy — still a legal right in this country, by the way — will, in Oklahoma, be required to get a vaginal probe to get a “clearer” picture. Medical professionals conducting the procedure will, whether they want to or not, be legally required to describe fetus characteristics.

“You’re going to force someone to undergo an invasive medical procedure,” state Sen. Andrew Rice (D) noted. “You have to invasively put an instrument inside the woman. This could be your 15-year-old daughter who was raped.”

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry (D) agreed and vetoed the bill, saying “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.”

This basic concept was rejected by Republican majorities in both chambers of Oklahoma’s legislature, which overrode the veto yesterday.

Nothing says “limited government” like state-mandated, involuntary, invasive procedures, right?

The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed suit, arguing that the new state law violates physicians’ freedom of speech and women’s right to privacy. Stay tuned.