, Muskogee, OK


August 21, 2009

SB 1878 & writing laws

One legislator said a technicality put a state anti-abortion law on hold, but more than a technicality held up the law. Poor research and writing put it on hold.

Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson ruled this week that Senate Bill 1878 violated the Oklahoma Constitution that requires legislation deal with a single subject. SB 1878 contains five separate issues, the most publicized provision, a requirement that women seeking an abortion have an ultrasound performed within an hour of the procedure and have the results explained to her.

Supporters of the bill said the intention was to protect women’s health. Obviously, however, the design of the bill is to confront women with the life they are carrying inside and change their minds about having the procedure.

First, if legislators want to write laws, they should know how to write them.

The one-subject law is clear, and if a law is important enough to present to the Legislature and pass, then it’s important enough to take the time to do it right. Instead, the law was held up for a year because of the appeal, and now it has been ruled unconstitutional and set for a long appeal to the state Supreme Court through the Attorney General’s Office. Not taking care to write a constitutional law has cost the state time and money.

Second, while this editorial board supported the ultrasound provision, we still say a better way to prevent abortions is to promote greater awareness of birth control methods. There are much safer and less traumatic methods of birth control than abortion, and people should be aware of them.

Men and women, of course, should think about protecting against conception before they engage in sex rather than dealing with an unwanted fetus or child after sex.

Individuals ultimately are responsible for their actions, but that doesn’t mean society doesn’t have a responsibility, too, in making people aware of birth control methods.

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