Abortion rights

Oklahoma legislature approves a bill that would make performing an abortion punishable by jail time

Pro-choice advocates (right) and anti-abortion advocates (left) rally outside of the Supreme Court, March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Oklahoma legislature passed a bill Thursday that would make performing an abortion a felony, a dramatic moment in the quest by many conservative-leaning state legislatures in recent years to scale back women’s access to abortion. Any doctor who performs an abortion in the state could, under the new bill, be punished with up to three years in prison and be banned from obtaining or renewing a medical license to practice in the state.

It is unclear whether Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will sign the bill into law. Fallin, an anti-abortion Republican, said through a spokesperson that she would withhold comment until after her staff has reviewed the bill, according to The Associated Press. The state senate voted 33-12 Thursday to approve the bill.

“Since I believe life begins at conception, it should be protected, and I believe it’s a core function of state government to defend that life from the beginning of conception,” state Sen. Nathan Dahm, the Republican who sponsored the bill, said Thursday, adding that he’s hopeful it could lead eventually to overturning Roe V. Wade.

Sen. Ervin Yen, a Republican and a physician, called the bill “insane” and voted against it. Abortion rights advocates have said the bill is unconstitutional and will be met with a legal challenge immediately, according to the AP.

Read the full story from the The Associated Press.


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