Abortion Health Reproductive Rights

Oklahoma State Bill Aiming to Revoke Abortion Providers’ Licenses Under Fire

Both abortion rights and anti-choice activists have slammed a recent Oklahoma bill that would take away licenses of physicians who perform abortions.

Last week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed Rep. Jim Olsen’s bill, H.B. 1182, which would mandate the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to revoke a doctor’s license for a year and fine them at least $500 if they perform an abortion. It provides an exception for procedures that are “necessary to save the life of the mother.”

The bill passed 71-21 along Party lines, however, it has drawn ire from Republicans and anti-choice activists who believe the bill doesn’t go far enough. Sen. Silk recently introduced a bill that would classify abortion as a homicide, and anti-choice activists have rallied behind Silk’s bill.

Reproductive rights advocates state that Olsen’s bill goes too far. NARAL argues that the bill is a clear example of an attempt to ban abortion, despite the exception. Spokeswoman Kristin Ford stated, “Politicians have no place intimidating doctors and interfering in personal decisions about abortion, which belong to women and families.”

In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Anuj Khattar, a family medicine physician and Physicians for Reproductive Health fellow who practices in the state, stated that Olsen’s bill would be destructive for the women in Oklahoma.

Dr. Khattar emphasized that removing doctors’ licenses would force patients to travel farther for a procedure or prevent them from getting an abortion at a clinic, jeopardizing their safety.

“If a woman wants to terminate their pregnancy, they want expert care to get that procedure,” Khattar said. He added that “It’s inflammatory for politicians who don’t know these women’s stories to go and make these laws.”

[ABC News, 2/11/2020] [Oklahoma Legislature, accessed 2/12/2020] [OKlahoma News 4, 2/11/2020]

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