Oklahoma’s Shameful Criminalization of Abortion Care

When the Oklahoma legislature passed a first-in-the-nation law that would make it a felony for abortion providers to perform abortions, conservatives unveiled a new way of responding to Supreme Court decisions they don’t like.

Just ignore them. Defy the Constitution, and disregard the 70 percent of people in the U.S. who want Roe v. Wade to remain the law of the land. That’s the stated intent of the bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Nathan Dahm, who hopes his bill could lead to overturning Roe.

The Oklahoma law makes it a felony to perform an abortion, with no exception for cases of rape or incest or to protect a woman’s health. A doctor who performs an abortion could be sentenced to up to three years in prison and be barred from practicing medicine in the state.

One in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45, making that procedure a common and necessary aspect of basic reproductive health care, yet — unlike any aspect of men’s health care — abortion is continually singled out for restriction, hyper-regulation, and now this outright criminalization. Rather than threaten jail time for those who provide safe, legal and medically sound abortion care, the Oklahoma legislature should work to ensure every woman in the state has fully insured access to this vital aspect of women’s health.

NOW calls on Governor Mary Fallin to veto this clearly unconstitutional bill. We note with deep concern that she is considered to be on the short list of potential running mates for Donald Trump as someone who would shore up his right-wing credibility. We urge the governor not to audition for that role by signing this dangerous and discriminatory bill.

Contact: Tamara Stein, planner@now.org, 951-547-1241