BY WANDA JO STAPLETON
I watched with interest the recent presidential debates in New Hampshire as candidates pandered to extreme right-wingers.
First, Mitt Romney dodged questions about a ban on contraception but reaffirmed his commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade. Then Rick Santorum declared that states should be able to outlaw contraception!
Finally, most of presidential candidates vowed to prevent Planned Parenthood from providing health care to the millions of women which is mainly preventive in nature: birth control and testing plus treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
Equally bad, here in Oklahoma, draconian anti-woman legislation, HB 2780, passed the Oklahoma Legislature in April 2010, and became law.
That law mandates that a woman or girl seeking an abortion must have an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure. Specifically, the law requires that an instrument, called a transducer, be inserted in the vagina if that method produces the best ultrasound image. That image must then be described in detail, even by an unwilling doctor to an unwilling patient.
Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the bill and declared that “a citizen forced to undergo any medical procedure against his or her will … amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.”
The Legislature overrode the governor’s veto but the law has not gone into effect because of a court challenge. The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is helping challenge the ultrasound law in Oklahoma County court.
If these types of laws stand, it’s back to the Dark Ages for women and physicians who treat them.
– Wanda Jo Stapleton is a former Democratic state representative from Oklahoma City and a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer