The Norman Transcript

State/Region

February 12, 2014

Abortion bills clear House committee

OKLAHOMA CITY — Two measures to further restrict abortion in Oklahoma easily cleared a House committee on Wednesday over the objection of outnumbered Democrats who argue the bills are unnecessary.

The first bill that the House Public Safety Committee approved would require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice, while the second would restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Both measures head to the full House.

The bills are among several anti-abortion measures that have been introduced this year in Oklahoma’s Republican-controlled Legislature, which has become a testing ground for some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

Rep. Mike Ritze, an osteopathic physician, said his clinical privileges bill is identical to one approved in Texas and is designed to provide a safety mechanism for women who may develop complications as the result of an abortion.

“It’s a safety issue. A person can hemorrhage to death very quickly,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. “If you’re dealing with minutes to save somebody ... you better have a backup plan in place.”

Oklahoma already has a law that requires doctors to either have privileges or an agreement with a local doctor with privileges, prompting the head of Oklahoma’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to question the need for Ritze’s measure.

“We’re being given a rationale that’s grounded in providing a safe atmosphere for Oklahoma’s women, but at the end of the day that’s just smoke and mirrors,” said ACLU director Ryan Kiesel, a former Democratic state legislator. “This is more about politics than anything else.”

Rep. Randy Grau, who wrote the bill targeting the use of abortion-inducing drugs, said his measure is in direct response to a recent decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which said Grau’s 2011 bill to limit the use of the drugs to U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved protocols was unconstitutional.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Immigrant children being placed with sponsors

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government says more than 200 unaccompanied children in Oklahoma have been placed with sponsors so far this year. The federal government released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of ...

    July 25, 2014

  • OCU prepares to move law library downtown

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City University’s School of Law is moving its library into a historic building in downtown Oklahoma City....

    July 25, 2014

  • CareerTech board names Mack as interim director

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Board of Career and Technology Education has named CareerTech deputy state director and chief operating officer Marcie Mack as interim director....

    July 25, 2014

  • Ohio State marching band chief fired

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday amid allegations he knew about and ignored “serious cultural issues,” some involving rituals where students were pressured to march in ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Board votes to delay plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Sentencing delayed for Oklahoma tea party leader

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Formal sentencing for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions has been delayed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Heat advisory issued for much of Oklahoma

    TULSA — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through late today for much of the state as stifling heat and humidity continue to affect Oklahoma this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate investigative academy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four agents are graduating from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Advanced Investigative Academy....

    July 23, 2014

  • Okla. legislator doctor wants minors quarantined

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined....

    July 23, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014