Extreme Abortion Bill in Oklahoma Could Set Women's Rights Back 43 Years

Since 1973, American women have had a constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion under Roe v. Wade. It's an enormously contested right and one that involves more hoops and hurdles than it should, but it remains a right. But Oklahoma lawmakers just passed a bill about abortion that would take that right away from its citizens, and depending on the governor's decision, it could be law by November of this year. 

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This is terrifying for any number of reasons -- first, because the bill, SB 1552, skated through Oklahoma's House of Representatives and Senate by a healthy majority (59-9 in the House and 33-12 in the Senate), despite being the first law of its kind. Secondly, because Governor Mary Fallin, who's an anti-abortion Republican, has a history of approving laws that hurt women's reproductive rights.

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Thirdly and most importantly, SB 1552 is terrifying because it makes performing an abortion a literal felony. Doctors risk losing their medical license and up to three years of their life in jail if they choose to do the procedure. It's literally designed to scare the sh*t out of them, and it's probably going to work.

SB 1552 is easily the most extreme anti-abortion law to make it through so much red tape. Many states have restrictions on Roe v. Wade (waiting periods, limited clinics, mandatory counseling, etc.), but none attach felony charges to the procedure. But backwards as it sounds, that's actually a somewhat good thing -- if SB 1552 becomes law in Oklahoma, someone will almost definitely take it to court, and the court will almost definitely deem it unconstitutional.

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The bill landed on Governor Fallin's desk on May 19, and as of that moment, she was given five days (not including Sunday) to decide what to do. She has three options: She could a) veto it, b) sign it, or c) do nothing. If she chooses to veto it, it'll be nixed for now. But options b and c would both make the bill law -- it can pass through intact without her signature.

So, yes. Terrifying. The laws as they exist now (in Oklahoma and elsewhere) are already too closely treading on women's rights, and we can't afford any step backwards in that direction -- let alone a giant leap like this would be. The constitution stands as it is for a reason, and hopefully, Governor Fallin will see that.

 

Image via iStock.com/DJMcCoy

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