Oklahoma Senate To Strip Abortion Providers’ Medical Licenses

In a bold move today, the Oklahoma State Senate passed a law that will effectively ban abortion in the state of Oklahoma — the law in question would allow the state to revoke the medical licenses of any doctor who performs abortions in the state, including any doctor in the state that has performed an abortion at any time in the past, according to Tulsa World. The controversial law is so strongly worded, that the bill itself was passed with an amendment that includes funding for the inevitable legal fees when the law is challenged in the courts.

The abortion law is even more restrictive than the Texas law upheld just last week, despite public outcry from pro-choice advocates. The Oklahoma abortion law, SB 1552, was passed just days after the U.S. Supreme Court halted much less restrictive laws from other U.S. states. The passage of the law, says the state senate minority leader, won’t last long as soon as it hits the courts.

“The bill will be reversed,” said Oklahoma State Senator John Sparks.

“It’s just grandstanding.”

Aside from the effects the bill will have on abortion providers and physicians throughout Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Medical Association released a statement condemning the law as an example of government coming between doctor and patient.

“This is a core function of government, this is our proper function, to protect life,” said State Senator Nathan Dahm, the author of SB 1552.

It’s not the first time an abortion bill from the Oklahoma state legislature has come under fire. Just this week, another bill was introduced to the Oklahoma state senate, redefining abortion in the eyes of the law. Senate Bill 1118 simply outlaws abortion outright, redefining the procedure as a first-degree murder, reports KFOR News. The bill is unlikely to pass, reports KFOR News, another example of the political grandstanding that State Senator Sparks outlined in his remarks about the other recently passed abortion restriction bill.

Abortion, in many conservative U.S. states, has been a subject of contention for decades now, but the Supreme Court Case Planned Parenthood v. Casey paved the way for pro-life advocates to exert some control over abortion – even if they couldn’t outlaw it outright. Casey, reports the New York Times, allows individual U.S. states to impose restrictions on abortion, as long as those restrictions don’t pose an undue burden on the patient seeking an abortion.

The Casey ruling was at the heart of the debate over the Texas law, which the U.S. Supreme Court is currently in the process of hearing in the nation’s highest court. In the state of Texas, abortion clinics were given a laundry list of restrictions and requirements that they needed to meet in order to perform abortion procedures on site. Supporters of the bill maintain that the guidelines are all about women’s health and safety, such as requiring physicians to be on site and to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in case something goes wrong.

Pro-choice advocates argue that the laws have simply shifted the restrictions from patients onto providers, and have caused many abortion providers in Texas to close their doors, which they claim was the goal of the law in the first place.

The Oklahoma law, SB 1552, which passed the Oklahoma State Senate today, will effectively outlaw abortion in the state if the Governor signs it into law. Whether or not the Oklahoma Medical Association will comply and revoke, or suspend, the medical licenses of any physician who provides abortion procedures to their patients remains to be seen.

But, according to multiple sources, including News OK and Daily Kos, the law is almost certain — if signed into law by the Governor — to be challenged in the courts as soon as it goes into effect.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]