Newsbreak

Oklahoma bill will give women resources and support during unplanned pregnancies

abortion, foster care, oklahoma

An Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill that will require information to be given to abortion-minded women about resources and programs that are available to help them, should they choose to give birth. Senator George Burns has named his bill the “Every Mother Matters Act,” or “EMMA.” Burns says that the aim of the bill is to help women choose life, rather than abortion.

“Many women facing unexpected pregnancies turn to abortion because they feel like they have no choice. We want to make sure they have an opportunity to connect with medical, financial, and other resources that they may not know about,” Burns said in a press release. “This legislation will do that as well as provide screening to identify those who’ve been victims of crime so that, with the woman’s consent, a report can be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency.”

Burns says that under his proposed law, women seeking an abortion must be offered assistance in finding resources. Women do not have to agree to this assistance, but if they do, they’ll be connected with a care agent who will help them determine eligibility for receiving support services for both them and their child’s father. According to Burns’ statement, “those services include housing, employment, childcare, health care, counseling, adoption services, financial assistance and more.”

READ: Oklahoma childbirth program routes $2M to pregnancy centers

Additionally, the proposed legislation places some restrictions on who can work as one of these care agents. Anyone who has worked for an abortion facility in the last two years is not eligible, as there could be a conflict of interest. These care agents will also be trained to identify potential human trafficking victims.

Abortion advocates are already speaking out against the legislation, narrowing in on the fact that there is language in the bill that would require each abortion-minded woman to be assigned a “unique identifying number.”

“We are not requiring this of any other medical procedure, where we are having a third party that is unrelated,  has no relationship with the patient, to now ask very invasive questions. So we should all be concerned,” Tamya Cox-Toure, head of the ACLU of Oklahoma, told KFOR.

However, other legislators are already on board with Burns’ idea. “We should provide every means possible so that they are fully informed and every step possible to try to protect those lives of the unborn,” said Senator Nathan Dahm.

Burns reiterated that his intention is to do everything possible to help mothers in need. “My ultimate goal is ending abortion altogether, and that fight continues,” he said.  “But we must also do all we can as a state to help present compassionate options for those faced with unexpected pregnancies that promote the preservation and dignity of life for mothers and their babies.”

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