Okla. House Approves Two Antiabortion Measures

March 14, 2013 — The Oklahoma House on Tuesday approved two antiabortion-rights bills related to the state's parental consent law, the AP/San Antonio Express-News reports (Murphy, AP/San Antonio Express-News, 3/12). Oklahoma's parental consent law permits a minor in need of an abortion to seek a judicial bypass allowing her to obtain the procedure without involving her parents (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/14).

One of the bills (HB 1588) -- sponsored by state Rep. Rebecca Hamilton (D) -- would completely eliminate the judicial bypass option (Krehbiel, Tulsa World, 3/13). The bill would permit exceptions in medical emergencies or if the minor is a victim of sexual assault or physical abuse by a parent. The House voted 80-12 to approve the measure.

The second bill (HB 1361), which passed 81-13, would require that the minor's request be heard by a judge presiding in the county where she lives and that parents present government-issued identification to confirm their relationship to their daughter (AP/San Antonio Express-News, 3/12). The measure also would allow the court to order a mental and emotional evaluation (Tulsa World, 3/13).

Supporters of the bills have claimed that abortion providers are exploiting the judicial bypass option by seeking judges who commonly approve such requests. Opponents counter that the process is rarely used but is needed to protect minors who could face abuse (AP/San Antonio Express-News, 3/12).