Oklahoma Lawmakers Are One Step Closer to Making Abortion a Felony

Any doctor who performs an abortion in Oklahoma could face a slew of criminal consequences.

Any doctor who performs an abortion in Oklahoma could face a slew of criminal consequences.

On May 19th, the Senate passed a bill that would make it a felony to perform an abortion — punishable by up to three years in prison. In addition, the doctor will be unable to obtain or renew a license to practice medicine in the Sooner State.

The votes totaled in at 33 to 12 and some Republicans joined Democratic voters against the bill. The state’s House of Representatives approved the bill in late April which moved it forward to this point.

“This is our proper function, to protect life,” said Republican Senator Nathan Dahm, who authorized the bill.

Now it lands on the desk of Republican Governor Mary Fallin — who is anti-abortion. Although she hasn’t confirmed whether she will sign the bill or not, it is very possible that Oklahoma will be the first state in the country to have such a law.

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Advocates against the bill, including the Oklahoma State Medical Association, say it’s unconstitutional. Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, says that the ban on abortion is unlikely to hold up against legal challenge.

“Doctors who provide reproductive health care for women, including abortions, are heroes. The Legislature’s attack on them is an attack on women,” Mary Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said in a statement.

The Oklahoma House approved a bill on May 19th as well. It requires the state’s Department of Health to create informational material “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society” which includes alternatives to abortion. The bill will now move to Senate vote. However, lawmakers did not approve funding for it and the bill’s sponsor says that it will not be able to go into action without funding.

It doesn’t seem like either side is going down without a fight, and now banning abortion is a matter of Governor Fallin’s signature on the bill.

Also on MD Magazine >>> Nearly 75% of Abortions Are Obtained by Married Women Worldwide