House Approves New Abortion Restrictions

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma House has approved legislation requiring abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

The House voted 73-9 for the measure Thursday and sent it to the Senate for consideration. It is one of several anti-abortion measures filed in the 2014 Oklahoma Legislature.

The measure author, Republican Rep. Mike Ritze of Broken Arrow, says it is designed to protect unborn children and women who may develop medical complications during an abortion.

But opponents say the legislation is identical to bills that have been struck down as unconstitutional in other states. Democratic Rep. Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City says that since 2006, the House and Senate have passed at least 18 bills that have been ruled unconstitutional.

The Center for Reproductive Rights issued a statement earlier this month about a similar bill in the Oklahoma Senate.

"The opponents of women's rights in the Oklahoma legislature are like the worst kind of broken record, repeating their attempts to deny Oklahoma women essential reproductive health care again and again," said Amanda Allen, State Legislative Counsel, the Center for Reproductive Rights.

"Politicians - not doctors -are behind this push to require abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. This legislation does nothing to advance women's health and safety as there is no medical reason for this requirement. It is simply another thinly veiled attempt by extremists to restrict access to safe and legal abortion care."

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.