Oklahoma Governor Fallin vetoes anti-abortion bill

22 May 2016 | By Ramya

The most pro-life Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin, has vetoed a bill that would make getting an abortion a felony in the Oklahoma state.

Going against her tradition of signing several pro-life legislations, Fallin vetoed the bill and said that it was very vague and wouldn't withstand a legal challenge.

To revoke the governor's decision, a two-thirds majority in each chamber of legislation is required.

In context: Abortion in US- To legalize or criminalize?

Introduction Issue of abortion in the US

The issue of abortion in the United States has been one of the most controversial issues of the country's politics and culture.

Several anti-abortion laws had been passed in each state since the 1900s; in 1973, the US Supreme Court prohibited abortion in at least in 30 states except under some limited circumstances.

Pro-choice (abortion) and pro-life activists continue to debate in the US.

Supreme CourtUS Supreme Court ruling forbids ban on abortions

In a landmark decision in Roe v Wade, the US Supreme Court had refused to allow the states from banning abortion.

It said that 'right to privacy' under the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause extended to a woman's decision to undergo abortion.

It forbade states from banning abortion until the 24th week when the fetus would potentially be able to live outside the womb.

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Reasons for passing the anti-abortion bill

Oklahoma passed several anti-abortion bills in the past citing reasons like protecting the unborn child, putting an end to unprofessional conduct by non-licensed doctors, women’s safety, minimizing medical risks caused by abortion, banning abortion if ‘Down Syndrome’ is the reason, etc.
Anti-abortion bill to protect sanctity of life

28 Apr 2016Anti-abortion bill to protect sanctity of life

Oklahoma's House of Representatives in the Republican-dominated legislature had approved an anti-abortion bill to protect the sanctity of life.

Legislatures stated that the bill needs minor changes to be approved by the Senate before sending it to the governor.

Under the bill, doctors to perform abortions would lose their medical licenses except while removing a miscarried fetus or saving the mother.

19 May 2016Oklahoma state legislature passes anti-abortion bill

Oklahoma lawmakers had passed an anti-abortion bill, which would make performing an abortion a felony.

Under the bill, a doctor who terminates a pregnancy, except to save a woman's life, could land in prison for three years and be prevented from practising medicine in the US state.

Oklahoma Governor–Mary Fallin would decide whether the bill would become law in five days or not.

Criticism Pro-abortion activists call the bill ‘unconstitutional’

After Oklahoma lawmakers had passed a bill that would punish abortion doctors and clinics, abortion rights advocates sharply criticized it.

Several abortion rights activists described the draft law as 'unconstitutional' as abortion was legal in the US.

They said that the bill would restrict women from accessing abortion-a woman's right.

Only two abortion clinics remained open after Oklahoma legislature passed the new regulations.

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Challenge Attempt to overturn US Supreme Court's ruling

Oklahoma Republican State Legislator–Nathan Dahm, who had authored the anti-abortion bill, stated that the aim of his bill was to spark a court challenge.

He added that a court challenge, which would end with the invalidation of Roe v Wade (1973), was one of his goals.

The bill was in direct disagreement with the US Supreme Court's decision, which established the right to abortion.

22 May 2016Oklahoma Governor Fallin vetoes anti-abortion bill

Need RestrictionsNeed stricter restrictions not a total ban

While anti-abortion activists hoped to use the bill to overturn Roe v Wade, a Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in 1973, Fallin vetoed the bill.

Even pro-life activists had rather sought to impose strict restrictions on abortion clinics and doctors than seek a total ban.

In 1991, similar laws, which completely banned abortions in the states of Utah and Louisiana, were ruled unconstitutional.

An ambiguous and vague bill

Mary Fallin said, "The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered 'necessary to preserve the life of a mother,' " in a statement.