And until then, perhaps Oklahomans can get abortions in Texas---no, wait---The Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would effectively ban abortions by subjecting doctors who perform them to felony charges and revoking their medical licenses — the first legislation of its kind.In a year in which states have tried to outlaw abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, to ban the main surgical method used in the second trimester and to shut down abortion clinics with onerous regulations, Oklahoma’s bill is the most far-reaching.The measure, which passed the Republican-dominated Senate by a vote of 33 to 12, will be presented to Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, who will have five days to sign it, veto it or allow it to take effect without her signature.If it becomes law, it is certain to face a quick challenge in state or federal court. And because the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that women have a right to obtain abortions until the fetus is viable outside the womb, legal experts say, it will soon be declared unconstitutional.
One republican state senator opposing the bill summed it up succinctly:Oklahoma’s proposal to criminalize abortion may be the most stringent, but it is one of many new measures that continue in conservative states. This year, South Dakota joined 12 other states in banning abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, with a similar bill in South Carolina awaiting the signature of Gov. Nikki R. Haley.Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia have passed laws to ban the use of the second-trimester surgical technique even though courts in Oklahoma and elsewhere have previously overturned such laws.Texas regulations that could force a majority of the state’s abortion clinics to close are the subject of a major Supreme Court case. The rules require that doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that abortion clinics meet the stringent building and staffing standards of ambulatory surgery centers. The decision, expected in June, could have major effects on access to abortion in several other states.
The Senate’s only physician, Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, called the measure “insane” and said he was certain it would be successfully challenged in court.Update: Fallin vetoed the bill.