A bill revoking the medical license of any doctor who performs an abortion passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives last week and now moves to the Senate.
H.B. 1182, which passed 71-21, would add “performance of an abortion” to the list of “unprofessional” conducts that can get a doctor’s license revoked. Any doctor who performs an abortion would lose his or her license for one year.
Rep. Jim Olsen, a Republican, is the bill’s sponsor.
“In supporting this, we [are] thinking about the value of the life of the mother and equally the life of the baby,” Olsen said, according to the Baptist Messenger.
Then-Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a similar bill in 2016, saying it was vague and could not withstand a court challenge. But she was term-limited and has been replaced by Gov. Kevin Stitt. He, like Fallin, is Republican.
“We are told the [U.S.] Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land, that we cannot protest its decision,” Olsen said. “There is a court even higher than the Supreme Court. There is the court of God. Abortion is a violation of the law of God.”
Republicans control both chambers.
The bill says “performance of an abortion … shall be grounds for denial or revocation of a medical license.” It allows for an exception to save the mother’s life or to “prevent substantial or irreversible physical impairment of the mother that substantially increases the risk of death.” But it also says an abortion “on the basis of the mental or emotional health of the mother shall be grounds for denial or revocation of a medical license.”
Minority Leader Emily Virgin, a Democrat, voted against the bill.
“Folks, this is not an easy issue,” she said, according to the Tulsa World. “It’s not black and white. There are situations with a lot of nuance. For us to wade into the nuance, the most personal details of a person’s life, of a family ... for us to say that we know better, that we know what’s best for you, to insert ourselves into this most personal situation, I think is just wrong.”
Photo courtesy: J.C. Gellidon/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.