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9:42 am
Thu May 27, 2010

Another Veto

Oklahoma City, OK – Gov. Brad Henry late Wednesday night vetoed abortion legislation that would have punished rape and incest victims who did not report the crimes against them within a specified time frame by denying them insurance coverage for an abortion.

Among other things, House Bill 3290 would have required these rape and incest victims to purchase special and separate abortion insurance before they were victimized in order to obtain an abortion covered by their health insurance policy.

Gov. Henry said such restrictions were onerous and unconstitutional.

"By requiring these victims and other women to prospectively purchase separate and special abortion insurance before a pregnancy occurs, HB 3290 unfairly and punitively limits the health options of these individuals. Under this legislation, if a rape victim did not report her assault to law enforcement within 48 hours and later decided to seek an abortion, it would be declared an elective procedure and the individual would be required to have previously purchased special insurance. If an incest victim did not report her assault to the police in the time period specified by this legislation, she too would be denied coverage unless she had the clairvoyant foresight to purchase special insurance before the crime against her was committed," said the governor in his veto message.

"Rape and incest victims should be treated with dignity and respect, not subjected to a state-imposed Catch-22 that denies them insurance coverage at such a critical time. HB 3290 creates an unconstitutional barrier to legal medical treatment protected by this nation's highest court and would result in an expensive lawsuit and potentially futile legal battle for the state."

HB 3290 veto message

While I support reasonable restrictions on abortion, this legislation creates onerous and unconstitutional health insurance restrictions, particularly for rape and incest victims. By requiring these victims and other women to prospectively purchase separate and special abortion insurance before a pregnancy occurs, HB 3290 unfairly and punitively limits the health options of these individuals. Under this legislation, if a rape victim did not report her assault to law enforcement within 48 hours and later decided to seek an abortion, it would be declared an elective procedure and the individual would be required to have previously purchased special insurance. If an incest victim did not report her assault to the police in the time period specified by this legislation, she too would be denied coverage unless she had the clairvoyant foresight to purchase special insurance before the crime against her was committed. Rape and incest victims should be treated with dignity and respect, not subjected to a state-imposed Catch-22 that denies them insurance coverage at such a critical time. HB 3290 creates an unconstitutional barrier to legal medical treatment protected by this nation's highest court and would result in an expensive lawsuit and potentially futile legal battle for the state.