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Our crazy anti-abortion laws are making a big splash in the national media!

oklahoma embarasment

Back in the March, we conducted a highly scientific TLO reader poll to determine the best piece of surely-to-be-ruled-unconstitutional-and-waste-Oklahoma-taxpayers-dollars anti-abortion legislation floating around the Capitol.

Here were the results:

Congratulations people who voted for the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act! Your choice won our poll, which means you'll be entered into a drawing to win a one-way ticket out of Oklahoma where you can start life over in a more welcoming, less-archaic state. Good luck, and if you can, please take me with you.

In case you're not aware, the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act is totally nuts. It includes an amendment that would charge anyone caught performing an abortion with first degree murder. When combined with the Revoke Medical Licenses of Doctors Who Perform Abortions Act, this would eliminate safe, totally legal abortions in Oklahoma. Well, unless you know some cavalier doctor who wants to go to jail and lose his medical license.

Naturally, this nutzo piece of legislation got the attention of the national media. The New York Times released an op-ed about the laws in yesterday's paper:

Give Oklahoma lawmakers points, at least, for honesty. They wanted to ban abortion, so they voted effectively to do just that — without offering any pretense of trying to protect women’s health, as supporters of other virulent anti-choice laws in states like Texas have done.

Last Thursday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to bar doctors from performing abortions in all cases except to save the woman’s life. A doctor who violates the law would be committing a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and the loss of his or her medical license.

If the House bill gets final approval from the State Senate, which passed an earlier version in March, it will be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, who has signed several other measures to reduce women’s access to abortion and reproductive health care in Oklahoma, where only two abortion clinics remain.

That's nice. It's alway fun to see Oklahoma getting such positive attention in the national spotlight. I bet when CEOs and "job creators" read stuff like this, they can't wait to move their companies to such a warm, welcoming, progressive place.

This legislation is plainly unconstitutional, and would be struck down as quickly as earlier attempts to ban abortion outright — which Utah and Louisiana tried in 1991. Since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld a woman’s right to an abortion before the fetus is viable.

While other states haven’t attempted an outright ban in recent years, they have managed to shut down clinics that offer abortion by imposing expensive and unnecessary staffing and facilities standards and requiring their doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Those laws, and others like them, have left millions of mostly lower-income women without access to abortion and other reproductive health services. The Supreme Court in March heard arguments over the Texas law, which has already forced the closing of about half the roughly 40 clinics in the state; the court is expected to issue a decision by the end of June.

The Oklahoma Legislature has chosen a different tack to block women from exercising their constitutional right. And though the bill appears to criminalize only the actions of doctors, it is by no means clear that women would escape prosecution. For example, around the country, women who attempt to perform abortions on themselves have been charged with crimes, including murder.

For years, anti-abortion forces have relied on onerous regulations on providers to limit abortion services and lied about their true purpose because they know that avast majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose and that the Supreme Court has affirmed that right for more than four decades. Governor Fallin would save everyone the time and expense of litigation by vetoing the bill.

Hahaha. They actually think there's a possibility that Mary Fallin would do something sane and logical. How cute.

For some reason, the New York Times didn't mention anything about HB 2797. Known as The Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, it's the anti-abortion legislation that would educate Oklahoma high school students about the humanity of a child in utero. It overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate by large margins and will be signed into law by Mary Fallin. Before it gets her signature, I wonder if there's time to include an amendment to educate students about the humanity of a 20-year-old woman dying from the results of a botched back alley abortion she received because her state has gone to extreme limits to all but ban a totally legal medical procedure?

Anyway, I guess I'll put these laws on our ever-growing list of "Unconstitutional Oklahoma Bills To Follow As They Float Through The Courts." Stay with TLO (or the New York Times), we'll keep you advised.

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