On Thursday, state lawmakers voted 33-12, without debate, to pass Senate Bill 1552, which makes it a felony offense to perform abortions. The bill also says physicians who do perform abortions can have their license revoked. According to the bill, performing abortions is “unprofessional conduct,” worthy of a minimum one year in prison. The state’s House of Representatives moved the bill forward in April, meaning it is now headed to Governor Mary Fallin for signature.
Oklahoma’s existing restrictions on abortion bar non-physician care providers from performing abortions. Punishment for that offense is up to three years in prison. This new law, though, effectively makes all abortion illegal. The only exception: abortions performed to save the life of the mother.
Attempts to challenge Roe v. Wade have gained renewed vigor in recent years. States like Texas have made abortions so inaccessible to women that the practice is effectively banned in certain areas. Texas’s abortions laws are currently before the Supreme Court, and there is no way Oklahoma’s law, if enacted, will go unchallenged. Still, it’s meaningful that the only doctor in the state Senate described the legislation as “insane.” He’s not wrong, even if Oklahoma strictures won’t hold water.