New law making it illegal for doctors to perform abortions already being called “the most draconian statewide anti-abortion measure ever.”
While America continues to distract itself with the ever-expanding circus that is the GOP Primary Cycle, state legislatures nationwide are not-so-quietly continuing their all-out assault on reproductive rights and women’s health.
Monday afternoon, Oklahoma GOP lawmakers moved dangerously further towards unconstitutionally banning abortion in their state, passing a bill that is already being called “the most draconian statewide anti-abortion measure ever.”
The bill, SB-1522, would revoke the license of any doctor who performs abortions, with zero exceptions for a woman’s health or even sexual assault. The minimum punishment for professionals still choosing to perform reproductive health services would be one year in a state penitentiary, along with full revocation of their medical licenses.
In fact, the only exception to the law would be in instances necessary to save the life of the mother, and outrageously even in that situation it is still stipulated that the threat of suicide by a woman seeking an abortion fails to fulfill the “life” requirement.
The bill passed comfortably in the House and must get a final Senate approval before heading to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. The conservative executive has not indicated whether or not she will sign SB-1522 into law, but historically has supported assaults on reproductive freedoms throughout her career in public service.
“This is our proper function, to protect life,” said Senator Nathan Dahm, the Republican lawmaker who authored the bill, with fellow state Republican colleague David Brumbaugh confusingly adding, “Everybody talks about this $1.3 billion deficit. If we take care of morality, God will take care of the economy.”
Opponents on the other side, however, are already gearing up for a legal battle to preserve a woman’s right to choose in the state she resides.
“This is a ban on abortion, plain and simple,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, “Punishing doctors for performing a legal, medical procedure is an assault on women. As a health care provider, we have seen the very real and very disastrous impact these bills have on women’s lives. Women are forced to drive hundreds of miles, and across state lines. Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of this extreme agenda, and Oklahomans will not stand for this.”
In response to the bill’s advancement, Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), has warned that this legislation will only accomplish putting women in Oklahoma further at risk, leading many to possibly turn towards unsafe, newly-illegal methods of ending their pregnancy.
“Health care decisions should be made jointly by patients and their trusted health care providers,” said DeFrancesco Monday in an official statement, “Not by politicians who lack medical training and who clearly do not have women’s best interests in mind.”
SB-1522 is part of a disturbing trend by state GOP lawmakers to circumvent Roe V Wade. Additionally, since inflammatory propaganda videos were released last July by anti-abortion extremists claiming that Planned Parenthood “sells baby parts” to fetal tissue researchers – claims that a litany of investigations found to be ultimately false – 23 states have attempted to sever its ties with the women’s health provider.
That combined with GOP front-runner Donald Trump claiming “there has to be some sort of punishment” for women attempting an abortion, it is clear that reproductive rights and women’s health is facing its greatest political assault in the past thirty years.