Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oklahoma Child Protection Act

HOUSE BILL 1401 titled The Oklahoma Child Protection Act states that children are increasingly being preyed upon and coerced into illegal sexual relations by adults. The care takers, schools and health care providers are required by Oklahoma law to report suspected incidences of abuse. However, the legislature maintains, many of these go unreported and the perpetrators are not brought to justice.
There are documented cases of individuals other than a parent or guardian aiding, abetting, and assisting minor girls to procure abortions without their parents' or guardians' knowledge, consent, or involvement.  This includes transporting children across state lines to avoid parental involvement requirements in the child's home state. Such actions violate both the sanctity of the familial relationship and Oklahoma's notice and consent law for abortion. However, the mandatory reporter may not use his or her discretion in deciding what cases should or should not be reported to the appropriate law enforcement or designated state agencies.
Any person, other than an adult who has caused the pregnancy or allowed it to happen shall be liable for civil damages if they aid or abed in a person under 14 having an abortion without parental or guardian consent. The court may award damages to the person or persons adversely affected by a violation of subsection A of this section, including compensation for emotional injury without the need for personal presence at the act or event, and the court may further award attorney fees, litigation costs, and punitive damages.
Additionally, a fetal sample will be taken and sent for investigation. This will include DNA testing of the unborn child. This may be used as evidence in later cases. This procedure will allow investigators to possibly find the person who impregnated the child. This would also stop abortion as a means of eliminating evidence in rape and child sexual abuse cases. Failure of the abortionist to comply will constitute unprofessional conduct for the purposes of Section 509.1 of Title 59 of the Oklahoma Statutes and the person will be charged with a misdemeanor on the first count and felonies on subsequent convictions.
The act would relieve medical professionals and other mandatory reporters of suspected sexual crimes against children from any responsibility to personally investigate an allegation or suspicion.  Mandatory reporters must simply report allegations, suspicions, and pertinent facts.  Trained law enforcement or social services personnel will then be responsible for any investigation and for the ultimate disposition of the allegation or case. Failure to report a case will result in a misdemeanor charge.

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