While Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin ultimately decided not to make her state Ground Zero for the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade, it still highlights the big stakes in the battle over Merrick Garland’s appointment to the US Supreme Court.
A collective sigh of relief could be heard from women all over Oklahoma on Friday, after Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed one of the most draconian anti-abortion bills ever passed:
Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. According to the measure, known as SB1552, a person who performs or induces an abortion will be guilty of a felony and punished with between one and three years in the state penitentiary.
But cooler heads prevailed and Fallin vetoed it, with little warning to her fellow Republicans, describing the bill as vague and unlikely to withstand a legal challenge.
The legislature can override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote in both houses, a distinct possibility, since it would literally only take one senator flipping his/her “nay” vote to “yea”.
Rather than the perennial chastising that this is a perfect proof that elections have consequences, let’s focus instead on the long-term strategizing this bill represents. There was no question that this bill would have been challenged in the courts for being unconstitutional. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, was counting on that. He wanted this bill to go through the court system all the way up to the US Supreme Court.
With the Supreme Court’s current eight-member make-up (and generally speaking, four-four ideological split), the result would very likely have been to uphold the ban, thereby creating the precedent necessary to overturn Roe v. Wade. That spotlights exactly why the U.S. Senate’s refusal to do their constitutionally-mandated responsibility to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland is so dangerous. Women’s rights, our health, our economic power, and our actual lives are very much at risk.
But we won’t go without a fight. Meet the woman opening up an abortion clinic in Oklahoma during all this drama.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)