Rep. Kevin West Comments on Library Abortion Policy

7/26/2022 9:28:00 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, today commented on a new policy at the Oklahoma City-area's Metropolitan Library System that prohibits employees from providing help with any abortion-related searches by patrons. An article in The Oklahoman on July 22, drew attention to the policy.

According to the article, guidance emailed to library employees stated that they can provide factual information about abortion — what the procedure is, for example, or what Oklahoma laws say about abortion. But employees should not offer opinions, medical or legal advice, or “actively assist anyone in breaking the laws of Oklahoma.”

"So much of this discussion just requires some common sense," West said. "No one is expecting any librarian to give legal or medical advice, and I certainly would not recommend giving information about how to obtain an illegal abortion in our state. But librarians can still show patrons where state statutes can be found and how they can be accessed. Librarians are not prohibited from doing anything currently within their job description. Anyone saying differently is purposefully trying to muddy the waters. Oklahomans lived under this law prior to Roe v. Wade, and we certainly can live within the boundaries of this law again."

West also pointed out that the source from the library system cited in the article was not aware of library staff fielding any questions about abortion or abortion services. A source at the state Department of Libraries encouraged other library systems to consult their library boards and legal counsel for official guidance on this matter.