Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill on Friday which would have made abortion a felony that could have landed a physician behind bars for up to three years.
In a news release, Fallin said that the bill, which passed on Thursday, was too vague and would not have stood up in court when challenged.
The absence of any definition, analysis or medical standard renders this exception vague, indefinite and vulnerable to subjective interpretation and application,” Fallin said. While she wants to see Roe v. Wade be reexamined and eventually overturned, “this legislation cannot accomplish that reexamination.
The bill passed the Senate 33-12, with lawmakers voting largely along party lines. The bill would have made performing an abortion illegal, a felony in fact, punishable by up to three years in prison. The doctor would also face the loss of his or her license to practice medicine in the state.
The bill was authored by Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), a religious zealot who said he believes “life begins at conception.” Dahm said that he sincerely hoped this bill would lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and put an end to abortion in America.
Fallin’s move to veto the bill was surprising because in the past she has been all too willing to sign similar legislation. In 2015, she signed a bill banning “dismemberment” abortions, which essentially bans all abortions after 12 weeks. Thankfully, a federal judge blocked it. The state of Oklahoma has tripled waiting periods for women seeking an abortion, upping it from 24 hours to 72 hours. This bill is still being challenged in court. Women in the state are also forced to sign a consent form filled with outright lies about abortion, including the myth that abortion can cause breast cancer.
Another abortion bill passed the Oklahoma house on Thursday which will allow a public information campaign to be developed by the state Department of Health “for the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” The legislation is now before the Senate.
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