Oklahoma House of Representatives
March 6, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Josh Cockroft Contact: State Rep. Sean Roberts
Capitol: (405) 557-7349 Capitol: (405) 557-7322
Lawmakers Vote to Increase Women’s Safety
OKLAHOMA CITY – Physicians could face a felony if they prescribe a pill known as RU-486 or milfepristone for the inducement of an abortion without being physically present under a bill approved by House lawmakers.
House Bill 2381 is needed because current law would allow physicians to give an exam and prescribe the pill over the Internet, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Josh Cockroft.
“Last year, the Legislature required physicians to provide an examination and set up a follow-up appointment before prescribing RU-486 for the inducement of an abortion,” said Cockroft (R-Tecumseh). “Since then, I learned that physicians could still prescribe this pill without even being physically present. This legislation just corrects that loophole to make sure this pill is properly prescribed.”
State Rep. Sean Roberts, a co-author, said a proper examination is needed to check for ectopic pregnancies and other contraindications which would make the abortion pill potentially dangerous.
“This is not like taking medicine for a cold,” said Roberts (R-Hominy). “There are serious complications such as hypotension leading to cardiac problems or hemorrhaging that could arise and a physician needs to be present to ensure this particular pill is the right choice for the patient. Although I do not support abortions, I am also concerned about women’s safety and that’s what this bill does, it helps assure their safety.”
Felonies are punishable by a fine of $1,000 or up to two years incarceration in the Department of Corrections. The legislation would also make physicians liable for damages.
“Prescription of this particular abortion pill without the physician being present is simply unsafe,” said Cockroft. “My legislation makes it a felony to endanger a woman in this way. The legislation is also written so it is clear that the patient is not the guilty party. As a pro-life lawmaker, I do not support abortion, but I also do not believe we should allow unethical individuals to carelessly put women’s lives in danger.”
House Bill 2381 now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.
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