Washington, D.C. — Today, the Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that would criminalize abortion, making performing abortions a felony offense punishable by up to three years in prison. The bill, which is now with Gov. Mary Fallin (R) for approval, is the first of its kind in the United States. Maggie Jo Buchanan, Associate Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
The law is clear: All women have the right to safe, affordable abortion. This bill represents an assault on women’s basic legal rights, and is an affront to every woman’s ability to act in accordance to what she believes is best for her health and her family. If enacted, this bill would effectively strip Oklahoma women of their access to this legal and safe procedure. By throwing doctors in jail for providing reproductive care, Oklahoma politicians are punishing women as well.
In short, this bill would have a devastating impact on women and health care providers in the state, especially low-income women and women of color. And while a wealthy few may be able to afford the expense of travel to get safe abortion care outside of Oklahoma, all women deserve access to timely and safe care. I urge Gov. Fallin to veto this bill.
Since 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, more than 1,000 state abortion restrictions have been enacted.
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