Roundup: Oklahoma Goes Round and Round While South Carolina Is Stuck

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Roundup: Oklahoma Goes Round and Round While South Carolina Is Stuck

Robin Marty

Oklahoma is playing the veto game for a fourth time, South Carolina is stuck in the mud on abortion, and Canada teaches the U.S. some lessons about reducing teen pregnancy.

Here we go again…

For the fourth time, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is vetoing the state legislature on an abortion law, this time a ban on abortion coverage for all insurance plans in the state.  The AP reports:

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry late Wednesday vetoed an abortion bill that would put strict limits on when private health insurers can cover the procedure.

The bill includes exceptions for cases of rape, incest or to prevent the death of the mother. Coverage for abortions could be obtained through a separate supplemental policy.

Roe is gone. The chaos is just beginning.

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The bill is meant to prevent state insurance exchanges, created under the new federal health care law, from covering most abortions, said state Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow. But it also extends the ban to health insurance plans outside state exchanges that operate within Oklahoma.

Henry, a Democrat, said the legislation would punish victims of rape or incest by prohibiting insurance coverage for an abortion if they did not report the crime within a certain time period.

“Rape and incest victims should be treated with dignity and respect, not subjected to a state-imposed Catch-22 that denies them insurance coverage at such a critical time,” Henry said in his veto message. “HB 3290 creates an unconstitutional barrier to legal medical treatment protected by this nation’s highest court and would result in an expensive lawsuit and potentially futile legal battle for the state.”

It is expected that this veto, like all of the others, will be overridden by the legislature.

South Carolina is also working to push through an insurance limitation on abortion for state workers or others who receive insurance that would be funded in part by taxpayer dollars.  Sadly, their debate is tying up the entire budget.  According to CB Online:

The abortion issue arose in March as House Republicans won an all-night fight to limit abortions covered by the state health insurance to only instances involving the health of the mother, eliminating coverage for abortions sought by victims of rape or incest.

Taxpayer funding for abortions became a huge political issue in the midst of the federal debate on a national health care overhaul.

Senate Minority Leader John Land, D-Manning, is on the budget conference committee and expects the House’s effort will ultimately fail. Agreements on differences require two votes each from the House and Senate conferees. “They don’t have two votes,” Land said, referring to the senators on the conference committee.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper, R-Piedmont, said if that happens, some House members may not vote for the final budget.

Meanwhile, the state is also trying to pass an extended waiting period for an abortion, changing the currently mandated one hour to a 24 hour period that starts only after receiving an ultrasound and hearing about the age of the fetus.  Via The State:

Lawmakers are negotiating a compromise on a bill to extend the waiting period for an abortion from one hour to 24 hours, but they’re running out of time with only four days left in the regular session.

The House version requires the wait to begin once an ultrasound test is performed and calls for a woman to be informed of the age of the fetus.

The Senate would have the wait begin after a woman downloads mandated information from a state health website. It also permits an ultrasound to be performed elsewhere and provides for exceptions for victims of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in danger.

Sen. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson Republican who chairs the conference committee of House and Senate lawmakers who have thus far stalled in a compromise effort, plans to meet today with Rep. Greg Delleney, his House counterpart on the panel and the author of the House legislation, and offer some other ideas.

He said that either way, the committee will meet at least one more time and take a vote on the Senate proposal.

Finally, teenage pregnancy rates in Canada are dropping considerably.  Is there anything that the U.S could learn from? From the Globe and Mail:

The report, which appears in the current issue of The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, compares Statistics Canada figures with numbers from three other countries. The United States experienced a 25 per cent drop while England and Wales showed a more modest decline of 4.75 per cent. Sweden’s numbers, meanwhile, jumped by 19.1 per cent.

“It’s not necessarily that sex education in Canada is at such a high standard,” said Mr. McKay, who co-authored the report with SIECCAN’s Michael Barrett.

“In comparison to the United States, we tend to have a more balanced, sensible approach to adolescent sexual health. Generally speaking what you find is that the more a society has an accepting attitude toward the reality of adolescent sexuality, the lower the teen pregnancy rate is. Canadians tend to have a more relaxed attitude towards adolescent sexuality than people in the United States.”

Mr. McKay said America’s emphasis on abstinence-only sex ed “tends to result in a higher percentage of teens becoming pregnant,” as does the country’s lack of universal health care. Poverty is another factor.

“The United States has large, well-entrenched pockets of inner city poverty and that clearly is linked to higher teen pregnancy rates,” he said.

“In those communities where young women feel optimistic about their educational and employment opportunities, the [rates] tends to be lower.”

May 26, 2010

insurance ban on elective abortions limited – CNBC

UK Bishops Decry Abortion TV Ads –

Canada’s teen birth and abortion rate drops by 36.9 per cent – Globe and Mail

Oklahoma Legislature Overrides Abortion Reporting Bill Veto – Ms. Magazine

Cardinal wants abortion debate reopened – Montreal Gazette

Teen pregnancy rates fall in Canada: study –

Kagan’s abortion compromise puts her in the American mainstream –

Pro-lifers urge block on Brit TV abortion ad – BP News

Quebec Roman Catholic archbishop defends controversial comments on abortion – Winnipeg Free Press

Will Gov. Crist veto the ‘abortion bill,’ HB1143? – Palm Beach Post

Que. cardinal wants abortion debate reopened – Montreal Gazette

Scientists urge G8 to help reduce unsafe abortions – Toronto Star


PPFA abortions could soar via ‘telemed’ – BP News

Anti-abortion group to campaign for CA candidate – The Associated Press

Study Finds Condom Use Is Increasing – New York Times

U.S. women still prefer the pill, sterilization for contraception – USA Today

Vaginal ring could ward off HIV/AIDS – New

States must be held to account over rights needed to end poverty – Reuters AlertNet

May 27, 2010

Gubernatorial hopefuls split on abortion views – Online Athens

Abortion bill running short on time – The State

Okla. gov. vetoes abortion bill on insurance – The Associated Press

How should schools handle education about sex? – Ottawa Citizen

Our teenage pregnancy rate drops quickly – Montreal Gazette

Rand Paul on Abortion – Reason Online

Teen pregnancy study falls prey to wishful thinking – National Post

SC legislators resume negotiations on $5B spending plan; abortion coverage … –

Gov. Brad Henry vetoes 4th abortion bill –

Catholic Church’s position on birth control applies equally to men and women – Plain Dealer

Abortion bill running short on time – The State