In four days or less providing abortion services could be a felony in the state of Oklahoma.
Yep, you read that correctly. Oklahoma is missing only one signature to pass this bill into law, Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin’s. With her signature, this bill would criminalize abortion providers with a three year prison sentence and loss of their medical license as well as many other restrictions placed on abortion clinics. (Currently, the entire state of Oklahoma has only 2 open abortion clinics.)
Mary Fallin, has repeatedly signed anti-abortion legislation into law. This modern day Phyllis Shafetly has a horrendous track record when it comes to voting for reproductive rights. In the past 9 years she has voted for 7 pieces of anti-abortion legislation. This could very well be her 8th. According to Huffington Post, “the CRR noted in an email sent to reporters that Fallin has signed 18 bills restricting reproductive health care access since she took office in 2011.”
The bill has already passed in the House on April 21st and the Senate yesterday. It is to be effective, if signed, on November 1st of this year.
Right now, Bill No. 1552 is sitting on her desk, awaiting a ratification (or denial, high unlikely, but one can hope) that will impact Oklahomans tremendously, possibly setting a national precedent. And we should be worried.
I encourage you to read Bill 1552, eye rolling is okay. Restrictions and contradictions are coming!
Here are some important pieces of the legislation for those who just want the soundbites:
Bill No. 1552: The Criminalization of Abortion Providers
- Any physician participating in the performance of an abortion shall be prohibited from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in this state. The State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shall revoke the license of an allopathic physician performing an abortion in this state. The State Board of Osteopathic Examiners shall revoke the license of an osteopathic physician performing an abortion in this state. For the purposes of this section, “abortion” shall have the same meaning provided by Section 1-730 of this title, except that an abortion necessary to preserve the life of the mother shall not be grounds for denial or revocation of a medical license. No such condition may be determined to exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman may engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death.
Bill No. 1552: The Only Exception
- Performance of an abortion as defined by Section 1-730 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, except that an abortion necessary to preserve the life of the mother shall not be grounds for denial or revocation of a medical license. No such condition may be determined to exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman may engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death
This bill DOES NOT include rape or incest as exceptions.
Bill No. 1552: The Grey Area
- The Board may enact rules and regulations pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act setting out additional acts of unprofessional conduct; which acts shall be grounds for refusal to issue or reinstate, or for action to condition, suspend or revoke a License.
So, we are just going to pass this bill and if we don’t like something else, we’ll add that too. -Oklahoma House and Senate Logic
In an interview with MSNBC, presidential candidate Donald Trump states that women should be punished for having an abortion. Although he did not have specific answers to what the punishment should be, the fact is, he believes that women making decision about their bodies and families should be punishable if they decide to obtain one. (Choose your candidate wisely.)
Perhaps this is next on the agenda of the anti-abortion movement.
Oh, wait. That is already happening.
In what way you ask? Well, here is a list (some of which is in Bill 1552).
- 24-74 hour waiting period
- Mandatory viewing of sonograms and pictures of the fetus
- Two day procedures
- Specific facility requirements (most, if not all, are ridiculous and unnecessary)
- Incorrect Information (Absolutely legal and enforced)
- Lack of accessible clinics
- Lack of accessible contraceptives and preventive care (cough cough defunding Planned Parenthood)
- Criminalizing patients and abortion providers
- Attacks on abortion clinics
- Treating people as wombs
- Forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy[
- Not trusting women’s decisions
- Women facing/ed imprisonment, murder charges, being arrested
Oh and the list could go on and on and on.
Bill 1552 is unconstitutional. It is inhumane. It is repulsive. And we can not be silent. Lives, families, destruction of patriarchy are on the line here.
In 1973 the enactment of “the historic Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas interpretation of abortion law and making abortion legal in the United States. The Roe v. Wade decision held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months, based on the right to privacy.” Thus, Bill 1552, directly violates this Supreme Court decision, which is unconstitutional.
This is not the only case that federally made abortions legal and accessible. The 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey case “reaffirmed” the Roe v Wade court case, stating that they the state should not place any “undue burdens” on patients trying to obtain an abortion. Well, they have. And this definitely counts as a measure of placing undue burdens on providers and patients.
Abortion is federally legal. States, for centuries, have subtly and blatant chipped away at reproductive health access and choice.
In response to the backlash of this bill, that will undoubtedly occur (folks are already organizing) the authors of this bill state, “In the event that any provision of this act is challenged in court in any action alleging a violation of either the Constitution of the United States of America or the State of Oklahoma, the Office of the Attorney General shall determine the amount of state or local funds expended to defend such action.”
Although the bill is unlikely to pass because of the unconstitutional ridiculousness it is important to understand the impact of this bill as a precedent. According to Guttmacher Institute, “during the 2014 state legislative session, lawmakers introduced 335 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion. By the end of the year, 15 states had enacted 26 new abortion restrictions. Including these new provisions, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.” There is war on bodily autonomy. The movement towards reproductive justice is threatened by the restrictions the state imposes women, LGBQT folks, and families. With Oklahoma’s 2 open abortion clinics within the entire state, abortion access and services, are becoming nearly impossible to provide.
We will not stand for this. We should be able to make decisions about our bodies and lives with interference from the state.
Advocate for reproductive justice! Stand with women and the LGBQT community. Our bodies. Our lives. Our decision.