Sen. Williamson blasts insurance reform bill

Oklahoma City – A Democrat-authored insurance mandate bill would force insurance companies to pay for abortions, gutting a key reform that was adopted as part of a landmark 2007 pro-life law said Sen. James A. Williamson today.

Williamson, who authored the 2007 law, called on pro-life legislators in both parties to oppose a motion to reconsider Senate Bill 2114, which failed last week to garner the 25 votes needed for passage. Democrat leaders in the Senate have said they plan to bring the bill up for reconsideration this week.

“At the time SB 2114 was first presented last week I noted the incredible potential for it to increase insurance premiums. However, the more I thought about the potential consequences of this legislation, I realized the bill also guts last year’s reform that protects pro-life health insurance policyholders from being forced to subsidize abortions through their insurance premiums,” stated Williamson, R-Tulsa.

“I strongly encourage all pro-life legislators – Democrats and Republicans – to oppose the reconsideration of this misguided legislation,” he said.

The state’s leading pro-life organization – Tulsa-based Oklahomans for Life – fully analyzed the bill and agrees with Williamson’s interpretation of the bill’s effect. Oklahomans for Life has announced its opposition Senate Bill 2114, Williamson noted.

In 2007 the Legislature overwhelmingly adopted Senate Bill 139 by Williamson, which became law without Gov. Brad Henry’s signature. A key provision of the bill required a separate, optional rider for abortion coverage in health insurance policies, ensuring that pro-life policyholders are not forced to subsidize abortions through higher premiums.

Senate Bill 2114, authored by Democrat Sen. Jim Wilson of Tahlequah, guts the 2007 pro-life reform. SB 2114 would require insurance companies to pay for any medical procedure recommended as “medically necessary” by any “health care professional.”

“Under SB 2114’s vague provisions, a ‘health care professional’ like a nurse or a psychologist could claim an abortion is ‘medically necessary’ and an insurance company would be forced to cover it. This is unconscionable,” Williamson said.

Sen. Williamson was elected to represent House District 76 representing the southeast part of Tulsa and Broken Arrow. In 1982-1986, Williamson was elected Assistant House Republican Floor Leader by fellow members of the Oklahoma House. In 1996, he was elected to represent Senate District 35 representing the south central part of Tulsa and Jenks. In 1998-2002, his colleagues elected him to serve as the Assistant Senate Republican Leader and in 2003 elected him to serve as the Senate Republican Leader. He has been named One of Three Outstanding Young Oklahomans (1982) and One of the Ten Outstanding Legislators in the Nation (1983). He is recognized for his successful leadership in Right to Work, education reform and family law issues.

Williamson holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and Juris Doctorate degrees from The University of Tulsa. He has practiced law in Tulsa for 28 years. Before Williamson began his law career, he taught social studies in the Tulsa Public Schools. He is a former president of the Tulsa Jaycees and has received numerous state and national Jaycee awards. He and his wife Sandra have four children: Andrew, Kenn, Angela and Joshua.
From 1981-1986 Williamson was President of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation which seeks out and develops leadership potential in high school sophomores teaching them about the free enterprise system in America.