Yesterday at the Oklahoma State Capitol was Rose Day, an annual day when hundreds gather at the capitol building to express their belief in the sanctity of human life by meeting with representatives and senators and presenting them with red roses. How ironic that on the same day, the House Public Health Committee voted to reject a bill that would have banned abortions that are based on a diagnosis of genetic disorder or Down syndrome.
A summary of the bill, HB1549, from the Oklahoma legislature website:
The introduced measure prohibits the performance of an abortion solely because the unborn child has been diagnosed with either Down Syndrome or a genetic abnormality or has the potential for a genetic abnormality. A physician or person who knowingly violates the measure will be held liable, have their medical license suspended or revoked, and be fined not less than fifty thousand dollars. A woman upon whom an abortion is performed in violation of the measure will not be held criminally or civilly liable.
Republicans joining the lone Democrat on the committee in voting to reject the bill were Carol Bush, Mark Lawson and Marcus McEntire. Rep. McEntire told The Oklahoman that he voted no because he did not want to expose the state to a costly lawsuit. This is an argument rejected by the bill’s author, Rep. George Faught.
Tulsa World – “There really would be no cost to the state of Oklahoma because (in) the Attorney General’s Office (the) staff … are salaried. They are paid to do their job,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. George Faught. “In these types of cases, there’s not any court process charged to the state.”
I saw no reported reason for Rep. Lawson’s no vote, but Rep. Carol Bush spoke to reporters and explained her no vote.
NewsOK – “We already have an abortion law that’s on the books, and this just created something that doesn’t need to be created,” said Bush. “It’s not good legislation. If you want to legislate it, do your homework.”
She said that the law wouldn’t do anything because by the time a fetus is diagnosed, Oklahoma law already bans abortion.
She also cited Roe, saying Oklahoma doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
“We have a federal mandate. Until that changes, I don’t think we should be wasting our time,” Bush said.
Tulsa World – “It was bad legislation,” Bush said later Wednesday. “It would have wound up in a lawsuit the state of Oklahoma can’t afford.
“We need to be focusing on the budget,” Bush said.
It’s obvious from her explanation that it is Bush who did not do her homework. Her assertion that by the time a diagnosis is obtained that Oklahoma law already bans abortion is patently false. Oklahoma law allows abortions up to twenty weeks. According to the Mayo Clinic, testing for Down Syndrome can be done as early as the first trimester. I found this information in about five minutes with a simple Google search.
As for the “federal mandate” and Roe, how does she think this will ever be changed if no court challenge is ever initiated, giving the current Supreme Court an opportunity to correct the most horrible ruling in our nation’s history?
And if she truly believes that time should be focused only on the budget, then perhaps she could explain why she has authored bills that deal with dilapidated and abandoned property, Crime Stoppers, sales tax relief, counseling for state employees, time limits for prosecuting sexual crimes, reporting child abuse and child sexual abuse.
Her vote is not surprising after blogger Jamison Faught brought attention to her liberal views last month and in December last year on Muskogee Politico. He wrote about a candid interview she gave to The Tulsa Voice in which she espoused views that are typically found in liberal Democrats. She issued an apology to the House Republican caucus and claimed she was misquoted. How she defeated conservative incumbent, Rep. Ken Walker, is puzzling. It will be interesting to see if her district reelects her in 2018, now that her liberal views have been exposed.
It’s clear from everything Bush said in her candid interview and her bogus explanation for voting no on HB1549 that she is pro-abortion. Truly anti-abortion representatives would never vote no on this bill. Rep. Lawson’s reason is unknown and Rep. McEntire’s reason shows he doesn’t understand how the state handles lawsuits challenging legislation. But Bush’s explanation is the most egregious, being based on lies.
This morning I messaged Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall to inquire why a representative with known pro-abortion views would be assigned to the Public Health Committee. I received a reply from his Press Secretary and Senior Advisor for Public Affairs, Jason D. Sutton, who said Speaker McCall was unavailable to respond.
“All House members are duly elected by their constituents and are free to vote their conscience on all bills and resolutions before them. Speaker McCall has proven that he is a faithful supporter of the unborn. The measure will be brought up again at a later date, and certainly he hopes that vote will turn out differently.”
I also hope the vote will turn out differently and I hope the constituents in Bush’s district are paying attention. I’d be very surprised if they knowingly traded a conservative representative for a pro-abortion liberal who will lie to them about her pro-abortion vote.