Home / Uncategorized / Oklahoma Legislature Sends Bill To Governor Which Will Effectively Ban All Abortions (And Certainly Send O.K. To Fed. Court)

Oklahoma Legislature Sends Bill To Governor Which Will Effectively Ban All Abortions (And Certainly Send O.K. To Fed. Court)

Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin (REUTERS/Mike Theiler/Files)
Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin (REUTERS/Mike Theiler/Files)

Both the Republican-led House and Senate of Oklahoma have approved a bill which would strip doctors who perform abortions of their medical licenses, a move that would end the availability of abortions in the state.  The bill has been alarming to many because, as it is widely understood, it is unconstitutional for a state to ban access to abortion.

Oklahoma’s House of Representatives signed Senate Bill 1552 late in the day on Thursday.  Earlier this week the Senate passed the bill, which now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Mary Fallin.

Under the bill, any doctor who performs an abortion would lose their licenses if the abortion is performed for any reason other than to save the life of the mother. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

The bill also states that an abortion could be used to end pregnancy in the case of a still-birth or in the event of a miscarriage.  Otherwise abortion providers could be sentenced from one year (minimum) to three years (maximum) in prison.

In the language of SB 1552:

Any physician participating in the performance of an abortion shall be prohibited from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in this state.  The State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shall revoke the license of an allopathic physical performing an abortion in this state.  The State Board of Osteopathic Examiners shall revoke the license of an osteopathic physician performing an abortion in this state.  For the purposes of this section, “abortion” shall have the same meaning provided by Section 1-730 of this title, except that an abortion necessary to preserve the life of the mother shall not be grounds for denial or revocation of a medical license.  No such condition may be determined to exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman may engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death.

For the purpose of this bill, it defines “abortion” as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device intentionally to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant.”

Governor Fallin has not yet commented on whether or not she will sign the bill.  Her past record indicates that she is about as anti-choice as lawmakers come.  She has signed bills so far that have increased waiting periods for abortions to 72 hours, outlawed second-trimester procedures, and forced women to undergo counseling if seeking abortion for “fetal anomalies.”

The decision to pass this bill is Mary Fallin’s alone.  If her conclusion is that it is worth it to fight its unconstitutionality in federal court despite Oklahoma’s dismal finances, the bill’s supporter Republican David Brumbaugh has an answer.

In response to state Democrats concerned about the $1.3 billion state deficit and how passing a law which would lose any legal battle at the federal level would be incredibly detrimental, Brumbaugh said,

“If we take care of morality, God will take care of the economy.”

“I’ve heard almost every argument today about judicial challenge to this legislation and after much prayer and study, I ask myself this question,” Brumbaugh said. “Do we make laws because they’re moral and right, or do we make them based on what an unelected judicial occupant might question or overturn?”

Amanda Allen, the senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights condemned the passing of the bill, saying,
“Oklahoma politicians have made it their mission year after year to restrict women’s access vital health care services, yet this total ban on abortion is a new low.”

About Rebecca Lawrence

Rebecca Lawrence is a freelancer in Brooklyn, NY. She is owned by two blind cats. Tweet at her @rebeccalawrence

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