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Okla. Gov. Vetoes Bill Criminalizing Performing Abortions

She says it wouldn't have withstood a legal challenge
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2016 5:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed legislation that would make it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion, a measure that would have effectively outlawed the procedure in the state, the AP reports. In vetoing the measure, Fallin said it was vague and would not withstand a legal challenge. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, said the measure was aimed at ultimately overturning Roe v. Wade. The bill would have made it a felony punishable by up to three years in prison for anyone who performs an abortion, including doctors. Lawmakers can still attempt a veto override, which requires a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

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The bill, which abortion-rights group Center for Reproductive Rights said was the first of its kind in the nation, also would restrict any physician who performs an abortion from obtaining or renewing a medical license. The legislature passed the measure with no discussion or debate on Thursday. "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," Dahm said. But abortion-rights supporters—and the state's medical association—have said the bill is unconstitutional. Sen. Ervin Yen, a Republican and the only physician in the senate, described the measure as "insane" and voted against it. (Read more abortion stories.)

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