Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signs 72 hour waiting period into law

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

Pro-life Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

When Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 1409 into law this afternoon, it meant that there are now four states that allow women considering an abortion 72 hours to ponder this life-and-death decision. The other three states are Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah.

The Sooner State is on quite a roll. Less than a month ago, on April 13, Oklahoma became the second state to enact the groundbreaking Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. That measure passed the state House of Representatives, 84-2, in February, and the state Senate, 37-4 in early April. The law will go into effect on November 1.

HB 1409 also passed both houses overwhelmingly. The tally in the House was 75-3, in the Senate 40-7.

The 72-hour waiting period has multiple purposes.

Representative Lisa Billy

Representative Lisa Billy

Tony Lauinger, State Chairman of Oklahomans For Life, explained that HB 1409 improves Oklahoma’s current abortion-informed-consent law by increasing from 24 hours to 72 hours the waiting period before an abortion, by requiring that abortion facilities, on their websites, link to the state’s Woman’s Right to Know website, and by providing that mothers considering abortion be informed that “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”

“The purpose of the law,” he added, “is to provide a better opportunity for adequate reflection – following receipt of informed-consent information about risks, alternatives, and the development of the unborn child – before undertaking the irrevocable act of taking a child’s life.”

According to Rick Green of the Oklahoman, when the bill was debated in the House, State Rep. Lisa Billy spoke eloquently and passionately:

“I just think before you have any kind of surgery you need to have all the information in your hand before you make that irrevocable decision,” Billy said.

Alternatives to abortion, including adoption, should be discussed, she said.

“Unfortunately abortion clinics have not historically provided facts and information to women,” Billy said.

“I’m very pro-life. Anytime a woman makes a decision, she needs to have all that information in her hand prior to making a decision that will take the life of an unborn, separate, unique human being from her.”