Oklahoma: Statism on Steroids

There are some things you can depend on. One of things is what I call the Mississippi Correlation — states with the strictest abortion laws also have the highest infant mortality rates. The same legislators who stay up all night worrying about the fates of frozen blastocysts can tolerate the unnecessary deaths of infants. (See also “Haley Barbour, Baby Killer.”)

So now we have Oklahoma with a new abortion law that mistakes women for Holsteins.

Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.

A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb.

Oklahoma fulfill’s the Mississippi Correlation nicely. Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate has been stuck at 8.0 for the past few years. The infant mortality rate for the U.S. overall in 2009 was 6.22 (CIA World Factbook).

According to the Commonweal Fund, Oklahoma ranks 39th out of 51 (the 50 states plus the District of Columbia) in infant mortality. Oklahoma also has the honor of ranking #50 in quality of health care its citizens receive (#51 is — wait for it — Mississippi. Who else?).

But never fear; last year Oklahoma took direct action to improve its state’s shoddy health care record by passing — wait for it — tort reform. So now Oklahomans not only get substandard health care; it’s now more difficult for them to sue for malpractice. Way to go, Oklahoma! As the song says,

“We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!”

That makes you something like serfs, yes? See also John Cole.

Update: For some better news, see “‘Face’ Time: Men Convicted Of Blocking Abortion Clinic Access” at Jezebel, where I also found this video:

17 thoughts on “Oklahoma: Statism on Steroids

  1. I can’t sue a vet for malpractice involving my dog and neither can I receive compensation for his unnecessary pain and suffering because they are property. This is sounding more and more like women are property. How many women were involved in passing this legislation?

    Isn’t this about ENOUGH???

  2. Can someone tell me that if the mother asks the doctor if there are any defects, must the doctor answer truthfully or answer at all? If not, isn’t there some legal issues in question here, regardless of the tort reform?

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  4. Chris, according to the new law (as I’ve read the explanations of it), if the doctor decides not to inform the patient of the birth defects revealed by tests, the doctor can’t be sued for withholding the information. As I see it, a woman has testing done for say, Tay-Sachs or spina bifida, the results come back positive. The woman had previously said that she’d abort if the results were positive. The doctor, who doesn’t believe in abortion, doesn’t tell her the results. He lies. So after she has the baby, she can’t sue him for negligence or malpractice or wrongful life. This is completely disgusting and beyond acceptable. Maybe what we need if a law that says a doctor has to post his position on abortion so a woman can decide if she wants him/her as her doctor.

    And I specifically use Tay-Sachs as the example because I believe it has become standard that if the fetus shows the genes for it, the pregnancy is ended. There is no treatment, much less a cure, for Tay-Sachs and the child is going to die, becoming sicker and sicker as time goes on. A woman may decide she can handle a child with Down Syndrome, but ask yourself, would you go through a pregnancy if you knew the child would die within a year or so with Tay-Sachs. Apparently the forced birthers are incapable of empathy or compassion.

  5. “mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus”

    Gee what sort of mind games will Oklahoma play with men before getting a vasectomy? Don’t answer rhetorical question. I spent 2 years in OK while in the Army, fly over country indeed!

  6. Laws like this one, Nebraska’s recent anti-abortion nonsense, and the AZ “yellow star for Hispanics” law are why the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court scares the hell out of me. To any reasonable mind, these bigoted and grossly unjust state statutes would be flamed out of existence before too long, but I no longer feel confident that will happen.

  7. I’m OK with all of this.
    As long as a woman can say the following, “You want to do WHAT with THAT thing? OK, but first, you have to go to my urologist who’s going to stuff a tiny camera up there and show you your sperm, so you get acquainted with them. You’ll want to know them, because if one of them causes my pregnancy, you’ll be paying me the following amount until the child turns 26 and can afford his/her own health care: $6,ooo per month, most of it to send him/her to a private school where they don’t turn out “Oakie Stupid” like our politicians in this state. Here’s the contract, go ahead and sign it. What, hesitation? I guess you really don’t want me after all. So, go ahead and put the one-eyed trouser snake back in his little hole. It was a really small snake after all…”
    Ok, no trips for me ever to AZ, OK, MS, GA, AL, KS, etc… Actually, I’ll just keep flying over fly-over country. There’s even more reason to do so now… JESUS!!!!

  8. Freedom of Choice Act

    “The Freedom of Choice Act, if adopted into law, will restore the reproductive rights recognized in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and in Doe v. Bolton, before Congress, state legislatures and courts eroded these rights. Since Roe, hundreds of anti-reproductive-rights measures have been enacted by state legislatures and more are being considered with each legislative session. The sum total of these erosions, combined with extremists’ clinic violence, have narrowed women’s access to reproductive health services. Indeed, in many parts of the country and for many low-income women, the right to an abortion is meaningless for lack of providers and financial assistance.”

    From National Organization of Women site

  9. Oklahoma fulfill’s the Mississippi Correlation nicely. Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate has been stuck at 8.0 for the past few years. The infant mortality rate for the U.S. overall in 2009 was 6.22

    Ah, but we forget that Red states do bible-based science, not real science. They have no time to teach things like math because that would make it hard to believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Certainly there’s no time for statistics. So it’s very easy for them to convince themselves that roughly half of the dead babies are relatively worthless females, and the real, “adjusted” mortality rate among the babies who actually count as people is only 4%, well below the US average.

    After congratulating themselves on this point, they pick up with Douglas Adams: they go on to prove that black is white and get trampled to death at the next zebra crossing. Or so we hope.

  10. Just a thought: does Oklahoma seem to be a possible source of much of the present-day population of Arizona? I’m planning to be in AZ in June or July (of necessity) and I expect that by then I’ll be hearing about the actual results of their new law, assuming it hasn’t already met its constitutional Waterloo by then. I don’t know what it will take to bring Oklahoma’s law down, but the level of deceit and destruction of trust it creates in the medical field doesn’t seem tolerable.

  11. Everything I ever needed to know about Sarah Palins’s lack of empathy was as when as mayor of Wasilla, she decided to charge victims for their own rape kits “They were asking for it.” If they had been at home minding their own beeswax instsead of parading around dressed like some meth whore trying to earn their next fix it wouldn’t have happened. I could almost expect this from some misogynist “Boss Hawg” cracker, but what do you want. The term “Snowbilly” comes to mind. I’d play “Every Sperm is Sacred” from Monty Python but I think I’m gonna go with Warren Zevon insted.


  12. In our part of NC the quote in Doug Hughes’ comment is spot on.

    I won’t mention any names, but there is an organization of the Christian Right persuasion that offers free sonograms. The women who do the sonograms are not certified sonographers. There only purpose is to show the expectant mother the beating heart of the fetus with the aim of discouraging abortion.

    This repeatedly leads to a situation where the expectant mother believes that she has received a sonogram from someone competent to assess the health and prospects of the fetus. She has not. She is then less likely to get a second sonogram and unlikely t know of any complications or birth defects.

    The infant mortality rate in the neighboring county is 8.2 per 10k. This is artificially high because miscarriages are counted as live births if there is any sign of life, even prior to viability. I don’t think this is universal among all the states and I don’t know how much this would affect the affect the infant mortality rate.

  13. parading around dressed like some meth whore trying to earn their next fix

    Ironically that phrase fits Sarah Palin, herself, to a T.

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  15. What you call the Mississippi Correlation is what I call “R versus K politics”. In population dynamics jargon, R is the average litter size of a species, and K is the quality of parental care. Some species have low R and high K; few children but most survive to reproduce; others have high R and low K; large litters, most of whom do not survive to reproduce.

    The same trade-off, between R and K, appears within American politics, in the form of the Mississippi Correlation.

  16. Empathy -The situtation mentioned about Sarah Palin and making the victims pay for rape kits is something I researched. My conclusion is that Sarah was not judging the victim – the rape kit includes the morning-after pill which would abort a pregnancy in the earliest stages – hours after potential conception. But in her mind it’s abortion and Sarah wasn’t going to pay for abortion. In this you see the most dangerous aspect of her political personality. As Mayor of Wasilla, she thought she was Queen when it came to dispensing legal medical care that in her evangelical mind thwarts the will of god. This woman and any of her teabagger buddies coming from an evangelical base must not be elected.

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