Anti-Abortion Crusaders Need to Stop Harassing Law-Abiding Doctors

Abortion, pro-choice, pro-lifeDespite abortion being legal for more than 40 years now, anti-choice crusaders continue to terrorize doctors to try to make the procedure impossible for women to access. The latest round of attacks against doctors comes out of the Oklahoma state legislature.

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The Oklahoma state senate just overwhelmingly voted to support a bill that would bar any doctor who provides abortion services from getting a license to practice medicine in the state.

In addition to that clearly unconstitutional piece of legislation, Oklahoma state senator Joseph Silk recently introduced SB 1118, which would charge any doctor who performs abortions with first-degree murder

Both measures will never actually go anywhere (hopefully). Democrats in the Oklahoma legislature point out that no court would uphold yanking a doctor's medical license for providing a legal medical service. And the bill that would charge abortion doctors with murder has been blocked from even being heard on the senate floor. But they target doctors in a way that is just plain harassment.

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So what's the point of all this expensive, symbolic legislation? Politics, of course.

Silk and legislators like him are riding a wave of support from extreme groups that are focused only on abolishing abortion in the United States. Here's a post supporting Silk on the "Abolish Human Abortion" Facebook page, showing praise for his efforts to criminalize abortion doctors and calling on the more than 41,000 people who have "liked" the page to support Silk:

Support Senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) with a "like" and prepare to follow the political career of this Abolitionist Senator.

Posted by Abolish Human Abortion on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Groups like these are so extreme in the lengths they will go to protect their "unborn neighbors" that even pro-life groups oppose their measures.

The largest pro-life lobby group in Oklahoma is trying to kill SB 1118 so that people can continue to slice up babies...

Posted by Abolish Human Abortion on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

One has to assume that since anti-choice legislation like this has little chance of becoming law and will only cost taxpayers by racking up court expenses and resources that could be devoted elsewhere, the true motivations of the lawmakers who champion it are fueled more by the attention it brings than the actual effect it ultimately has on the people they're supposed to represent.

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But while all of this political posturing continues, there are real doctors who are impacted by this highly charged rhetoric -- doctors who have spent, and in many cases risked, their lives to provide women constitutionally protected health care. Abortion clinics, like the one in Colorado Springs that was the site of a mass shooting late last year, are constantly under threat of violence and are put under tremendous pressure to close their doors. But there remain a few brave physicians who believe the work they're doing to protect women and their access to health care is worth the risk. These doctors believe in the work they're doing and refuse to be bullied.

Besides criminalizing doctors, 26 states have enacted strict regulations, called TRAP laws, that anti-choice advocates say are intended to make abortions safer, but that doctors say are just a disingenuous way to close clinics and limit women's access to health care.

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Regardless of anyone's personal or religious views on abortion, our physicians should be off-limits. Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one. Adopt kids and vote to help mothers in every way possible to encourage women to have more babies, and support efforts to make birth control readily available. These are real things we can all do that are actually proven to prevent abortions. But our doctors have to be off-limits, especially when they're being put in danger by those who are just trying to score cheap political points on the far right wings of politics.

Playing politics with women's health has got to stop, and so do attacks on doctors providing them with care. Our country is better than this and so are we. Pass it along to your state legislators.

 

Image via © Cory Clark/Demotix/Corbis

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