“House Passes Pro-Life Legislation” was the headline of the news release issued from the Oklahoma House of Representatives. It was a slam dunk for the unborn! While celebrating was justifiable, it doesn’t seem long-lived with the Senate committee meeting just around the corner, and another battle before the war is won for this legislative session in the fight for the unborn.

Less than a month after hundreds of pro-life supporters gathered at the State Capitol, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed pro-life House Bill 1595 (HB1595) with a resounding 93-4 vote, and it will now move to the Senate for consideration.

HB1595, authored by Rep. Dan Sullivan and Sen. Todd Lamb, is a comprehensive abortion-reporting bill that will measure the prevalence of abortion in Oklahoma, the reasons abortions are sought and the complications that result. The bill also will monitor and ensure compliance with our existing abortion statutes and prohibit sex-selection abortions.

If HB1595 becomes law, a mother would not be able to abort her baby based solely on the sex of the child. In addition, HB1595 creates the Statistical Reporting of Abortion Act, which requires physicians who perform abortions to report certain information to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“As medicine has advanced, it has become easier to genetically ‘design’ babies based on certain desires of the parents, including the sex of the child,” said Sullivan. “In many countries, aborting babies because of their sex is a common practice, and this legislation will make sure such a barbaric practice will not happen in Oklahoma.”

The Health Department would be required to make state statutes and regulations related to abortion and the reporting forms available on its Web site if this legislation becomes law. Physicians in the state also will be notified about the requirements to report abortion-related information. The measure directs the department to publish certain annual abortion reports and to ensure compliance with the provisions of the act by conducting periodic inspections of places where abortions are performed.

Abortion is often described as being “safe, legal and rare.” This bill will measure the accuracy of that claim. Complications from abortion, in particular, are seldom reported, and the magnitude of abortion’s toll on women’s health and well-being is not truly known.

Over the last several years, significant pro-life legislation has passed our state legislature because Oklahoma Baptists and other pro-life advocates made their voices known. This legislative session presents another grand opportunity to move forward in the battle to protect the unborn.

With a tight state budget a factor for legislators, this bill could face a challenge in passing the State Senate. It is estimated that the bill’s requirements will cost the state more than $250,000 annually to comply with the law. Our state Senators need to hear where we stand on the issue! It is about time we spare no expense in protecting those who can’t protect themselves!

E-mail your Senator now to ask support for HB1595. Locate your senator by visiting the Legislative Locator at www.BGCO.org/ERLC.

2008 Resolution On Sanctity of Life

“We, the messengers to the 2008 Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, meeting at The Church at BattleCreek of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Nov. 10-11, 2008, recognize the sanctity of human life as created by God. Understanding that abortion is one of the greatest evils of our time, we therefore encourage Oklahoma Southern Baptists to take an active role in doing all they can to promote the sanctity of human life . . .”