A bill that will revoke the license of any doctor who performs abortions has landed on the desk of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R). While the conservative governor hasn’t yet said whether or not she will sign it, the Republican-dominated state legislature is eager for this proposed law to see the light of day, saying it will “protect life.”
However, abortion rights advocates say the legislation violates the Constitution by banning a doctor from providing a medical procedure that is entirely legal.
“Whether this bill is signed into law or now, the fact that it’s made it to the governor’s desk is appalling and offensive,” said Dr. Pratima Gupta, a member of Physicians for Reproductive Health.
And, Gupta added, it will force doctors to give their patients deceptive and unscientific advice — that they should not go through with a requested abortion — in hopes of keeping their medical license. Many anti-abortion state laws already put doctors in this difficult situation. For instance,Arizona passed a law forcing doctors to tell their patients that an abortion is reversible — advice that remains unproven.
“Patients trust me to care for them and give them the best medical advice,” Gupta said. “This bill would force us, as doctors, to go against our own beliefs.”
In response to the bill’s advancement, Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), stressed that this legislation would only put women at further risk, as they may instead turn to unsafe, illegal methods to end their pregnancy. Politics, he emphasized, have no place in an exam room.
“Health care decisions should be made jointly by patients and their trusted health care providers,” DeFrancesco wrote in a Monday statement. “Not by politicians who lack medical training and who clearly do not have women’s best interests in mind.”
Still, this is something of a bold new tactic and could effectively end abortions in the state, especially if the law remains in effect while it is being fought in the courts. I'm not sure what GOP Gov. Fallin will do with this bill, but it's entirely possible a veto may be overridden.
I'll keep an eye on this one.