Statement from Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights on Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s veto of the state’s total ban on abortion:
“Governor Fallin did the right thing today in vetoing this utterly unconstitutional and dangerous bill.
“But the reality is countless Oklahoma women still face incredible obstacles to access safe and legal abortion when they’ve made the decision to end a pregnancy. It’s time the rest of Oklahoma’s elected officials follow Governor Fallin’s lead today and stop policing women’s most personal, private decisions about their families, their lives, and their futures.”
The Oklahoma legislature advanced a measure yesterday which banned abortion by making it a felony for any person to perform or induce an abortion. The measure—which was the first of its kind–would strip physicians who provide abortion care of their medical licenses and also threatens anyone found inducing an abortion with up to three years jail time.
Since Governor Fallin took office in 2011, she has signed 18 bills restricting access to reproductive health care services, including a Texas-style clinic shutdown law, a ban on the most common method of second trimester abortion, unconstitutional restrictions on medication abortion, and a law that forces abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and display and describe the image. In fact, the Center for Reproductive Rights has challenged unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care in Oklahoma eight times in five years. There are only two providers of safe and legal abortion in Oklahoma. The Center for Reproductive Rights called on Governor Fallin to veto this unconstitutional measure in a letter found here.
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held—first in Roe v. Wade and again most recently in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that women have a constitutional right to decide whether to end or continue a pregnancy and states cannot ban abortion prior to viability. When these bans are challenged in court, they do not pass constitutional muster. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court refused to review North Dakota’s ban on abortion as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy and Arkansas’ ban on abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy, in 2014, the nation’s highest court refused to review Arizona’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy.