Bill to remove Oklahoma’s pregnancy program does not advance

Oklahoma
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Oklahoma lawmakers will not consider proposed legislation that would have ended a state pregnancy program for low-income women, including those in the country illegally.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee said Senate Bill 40, which aimed to eliminate the Soon-to-be-Sooners program, will not be heard.

Elimination of the program would have resulted in Oklahoma losing $91 million in federal funding, the Tulsa World reported.

Sen. Paul Scott, the bill’s sponsor, informed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee last Friday that he won’t be requesting a hearing to end the program. Scott said women who enter the country illegally should not be covered by the program.

Scott acknowledged pursuing the bill would be futile since Congress has already approved funding through 2023.

“The current program provides free prenatal care and other health care services to expectant mothers, which is a valuable service,” Scott said. “My concerns, however, have to do with Oklahoma taxpayers paying for the numerous recipients in the program who are non-documented citizens.”

Carly Putnam, policy director at the Oklahoma Policy Institute, said she was pleased to hear the bill is not moving forward.

“It would have done a lot of harm to Oklahoma women and families,” she said.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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