| OKLAHOMA CITY, April 20
OKLAHOMA CITY, April 20 Oklahoma Governor Mary
Fallin on Wednesday signed into law a prohibition on abortion
after 20 weeks of pregnancy, making it the fourth state to ban
such late term abortions.
She also signed a law preventing health insurers from
covering elective abortions.
Fallin, a Republican serving her first term, said both laws
are important measures that safeguard life.
"Together, these two pieces of legislation will expand
protections for unborn children and ensure that Oklahomans are
not forced to unknowingly or unwillingly help to pay for
procedures that run contrary to their values," she said.
Barbara Santee, former executive director of NARAL
Pro-Choice America's Oklahoma office, called the two laws "a
frontal assault" on the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that
"This is just chipping away at a woman's right to choose,"
The law prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks is based on the
belief that a fetus can feel pain at that point. Nebraska
passed such a law last year, and Idaho and Kansas did so this
year. About a dozen other states are considering similar
The Oklahoma law allows abortions when the mother's life is
at risk or she faces serious risk of substantial physical
Violations of the law are a felony for abortion providers,
but women who undergo the prohibited abortions would not be
The other measure signed into law by Fallin prohibits
health insurance companies from offering coverage of elective
abortions in standard policies sold in the state. Elective
abortion insurance coverage could still be obtained, but only
by paying a separate premium for optional supplemental
Legislators in 23 other states are seeking similar
insurance restrictions for elective abortions, according to the
Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that tracks
women's health issues.
(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)