Okla. Gov. Vetoes Fourth Abortion Bill

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry vetoed a bill Wednesday evening that would place greater restriction on private insurance companies' coverage of abortions.

Henry's veto of House Bill 3290 is the fourth abortion-related legislation he has rejected this year. All three prior bills were successfully overridden by members of the House and Senate.

The latest vetoed bill is meant to block state insurance exchanges created under the new federal health care law from covering most abortions. State insurance exchanges are new insurance markets for those who do not receive their health insurance through their employer.

While the bill allows private health insurers to cover abortion in the cases or rape, incest or to prevent the death of the mother, it requires women to buy a separate supplemental policy in order to receive the coverage.

Gov. Henry criticized the bill arguing that it punishes rape and incest victims because the measure requires them to report the crime within 48 hours in order to receive abortion coverage.

"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," wrote the Democratic governor in his veto, according to NewsOk.com.

Rep. Skye McNiel (R-Bristow), who crafted the measure, said she will discuss with House leaders this week on whether to attempt an override of the veto.

The Oklahoma Legislature is controlled by Republicans. Pro-life Democrats helped Republican lawmakers this year override Henry's previous three abortion-related vetoes.

On Tuesday, the Senate completed a third override of Henry's veto concerning an abortion bill. The measure requires women seeking an abortion to provide personal information that will be included on a statistical public website without the women's names. Supporters of the bill say it is needed to understand why women seek abortion and how to prevent it.