Oklahoma State Senate Passes Heartbeat BillPosted: March 7, 2012
Earlier this week Oklahoma’s state Senate approved legislation, which would force doctors to tell women they have the ‘right’ to hear a heartbeat prior to abortion procedures. Originally, the ‘Heartbeat Informed Consent Act,’ forced women to listen to a heartbeat, but the bill was amended to only require that doctors tell their patients that they have the opportunity. The bill passed 34-8 in the state Senate, where far-right Republicans hold the majority.
Legislators supporting the superfluous measure defended it, explaining that it ‘promotes a culture of life.’ Choice advocates find the legislation to be an offensive effort to manipulate and shame women who, “exercise their constitutional right to terminate pregnancy.” If passed, the ‘Heartbeat Informed Consent Act,’ would like have little to no impact on rates of the procedure, but only further the difficulty of the experience. Additionally, the measure is disconcerting as it inserts government mandates in doctor-patient relationships, tarnishing confidentiality and creating a questionable imposition on doctors’ freedom of speech.
There is no benefit to this legislation, which appears to be symbolic at best, existing as a legislative statement of Oklahoma’s state Senate’s clear anti-choice bias and disregard for confidentiality and freedom of speech.