Health

Oklahoma Senate Passes Bill To Criminalize Abortion

| by Michael Allen

The Oklahoma state Senate passed a bill May 19 that would make performing an abortion a felony even though the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973.

The bill, which passed 33-12, would allow doctors to be jailed up to three years, if convicted, and calls on the state medical board to revoke the licenses of doctors for the "performance of an abortion," notes Reuters.

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The bill does have an exception for the life of the mother, but none for rape or incest victims.

The measure was already approved in the state House and now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who has signed previous anti-abortion bills into laws that were thrown out by the courts.

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Republican state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who wrote the bill, said, "I believe that is a core function of state government to defend that life from the beginning of conception."

The pro-life lawmaker also wrote bills in 2013 to nullify Obamacare in the state, and criminalize federal and state officials who carried out or cooperated with the federal health care law, reported Tulsa World.

Republican state Sen. Ervin Yen said that Dahm's abortion bill was "insane," and predicted it would be defeated in court (if it is signed into law by Fallin).

Dahm has admitted that his bill would be challenged in court, but said a legal organization is willing to defend it, which would not cost the state; it's not clear what group Dahm is referring to.

Dahm is hopeful that such a case would reach the U.S Supreme Court and overturn the 1973 landmark ruling.

Amanda Allen, a lawyer for the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-choice group, wrote Fallin a letter that called Dahm's bill "the most extreme abortion law in this country since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973," notes Tulsa World.

Allen added that her organization has sued Oklahoma eight times over the past six years and has won every time.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse G. Hogue said in a press release: "This obviously unconstitutional bill never will withstand legal scrutiny and is designed to scare doctors and shame women. It is a shameful new low for the anti-choice movement."

Sources: Tulsa World (2), Reuters / Photo credit: Skiddie2003/Wikimedia