Oklahoma Passes Bill Making Performing An Abortion A Felony

Oklahoma’s legislature passed an anti-abortion bill on Thursday that would make it so any doctor who performs an abortion could face felony charges and up to three years in prison, according to the Associated Press.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, has not indicated if she will sign the bill. The bill also makes it so any doctor found to be performing an abortion will lose their medical license in the state, according to the Washington Post.

The bill had already passed Oklahoma’s House last month, and it passed through the Senate on Thursday with a vote of 33-12.

oklahoma abortion

Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm proposed the bill, and he said he would like to see abortion banned nationwide.

“Since I believe life begins at conception, it should be protected, and I believe it’s a core function of state government to defend that life from the beginning of conception,” Dahm said.

Dahm hopes Oklahoma will set an example that will eventually lead to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion for the whole country.

“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,” Amanda Allen, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “The Center for Reproductive Rights is closely watching this bill and we strongly urge Governor Fallin to reject this cruel and unconstitutional ban.”

One of the state Senate’s Republicans broke with her party during the vote on Thursday by voting against the bill. Sen. Ervin Yen, of Oklahoma City, called the legislation “insane.” She is the only physician in Oklahoma’s Senate.

The Oklahoma House also passed anti-abortion legislation on Thursday. With a vote of 69-15, the House passed a bill that requests the Department of Health distribute information “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.”

Oklahoma is not the only state trying to ban abortion or restrict it. South Carolina passed a bill on Tuesday that would ban abortion after 19 weeks, according to the Associated Press. The governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, has indicated she intends to sign the bill.

oklahoma abortion

Indiana signed into law a controversial abortion bill in March that bans abortions that are sought specifically because of the sex, race, or a disability, according to the New York Times. Many argue not letting a woman pursue an abortion because of a disability could lead to dangerous pregnancies. Even some of the state’s most ardent anti-abortion lawmakers spoke out against the bill and claimed it could prevent a woman and her physician from making safe choices.

One of the most controversial abortion situations in the country is found in Texas, where a law that many say is unfairly restricting abortion access has been contested all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Texas law that was passed in 2013 forces doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital near their clinic, which is unusual, and it sets many parameters for how a clinic must be built. Experts have argued these restrictions could cause many existing abortion clinics to close, which could mean the state of 25 million could have as few as 10 clinics, according to the New York Times.

Since the death of the conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and the lack of a replacement for him, many have argued the case could end with a split decision. That would mean appeals court ruling that largely supported the abortion restrictions would remain the final decision on the matter.

Oklahoma’s ban would likely also be challenged in court, but that’s only if the governor signs it.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]