Can Legislators Wade Through the Abortion Debate?

Oklahoma, along with several other states, has been slowly, but not silently pushing the limit on women’s right to abortion. Oklahoma law that imposed restrictions on the procedure has been challenged in courts as unconstitutional eight times over the past six years. The most recent bill that passed Oklahoma’s Senate would essentially make abortions illegal by subjecting any physician who performs an abortion to felony charges and revocation of their medical license. The bill further states that a physician’s medical license will not be revoked if the procedure was necessary to save the mother’s life, yet the felony provision contains no such exception.

The proposed bill has raised outrage among pro-choice activists. With only two facilities currently performing abortions in the state, women’s access to the procedure is already severely limited. Some legislators are also calling the bill an “ill-considered diversion.” One Oklahoma senator has admitted that he is hoping for an opportunity to defend the bill in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to ultimately overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade. However, this hope may be far-stretched given the fact that the Supreme Court has given no indication that it would entertain the notion of completely doing away with women’s right to abortion.

It remains uncertain whether the Oklahoma bill will become law. It is currently pending review by Republican Governor Mary Fallin, who must decide whether to sign it into law, veto it, or allow it to be automatically enacted without her signature.



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