Oklahoma Gov. Vetoes ‘Vague’ Abortion Bill

     OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) — Calling it “so ambiguous and so vague,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed a first-of-its-kind bill that would have made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion.
     Senate Bill 1552 was passed by a 33-12 vote without debate. Sponsored by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, the bill directly contradicts U.S. Supreme Court precedent that such bans on abortion are unconstitutional. Doctors would also face the possibility of losing their medical license under the bill.
     The Oklahoma House approved the bill 59-9 last month. Both chambers of the Legislature are controlled by Republicans.
     Dahm told the House last month that his bill is “not about policy. It’s not about politics. It’s about principle.”
     Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, the Senate’s only physician, told the Tulsa World that the bill is “insane” and that it would definitely lose in a lawsuit.
     The Center for Reproductive Rights has sued the state several times in recent years over its passage of increasingly restrictive abortion laws. The group urged Fallin to veto the “blatantly unconstitutional” bill.
     “This bill will almost certainly lead to expensive court challenges that the state of Oklahoma simply cannot defend in light of longstanding Supreme Court precedent,” the group wrote in a four-page letter Thursday. “We urge you to veto this bill.”
     The Center for Reproductive Rights said the bill “the most extreme abortion law in the country” since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
     “Since Governor Fallin took office in 2011, she has signed 18 bills restricting access to reproductive health care services, including a Texas-style clinic shutdown law, a ban on the most common method of second trimester abortion, unconstitutional restrictions on medication abortion, and a law that forces abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and display and describe the image,” the group said in a statement Thursday. “Each of these laws have been blocked by courts; in fact, the Center for Reproductive Rights has challenged unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care in Oklahoma eight times in five years.”
     If Fallin had not vetoed the bill, it would have automatically become law after five days.
     The governor said Friday that the bill was “so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother.'”
     “The absence of any definition, analysis or medical standard renders this exception vague, indefinite and vulnerable to subjective interpretation and application,” Fallin said.

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