Oklahoma Republicans Want to Suspend the Medical Licenses of Abortion Providers February 20, 2019

Oklahoma Republicans Want to Suspend the Medical Licenses of Abortion Providers

Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma have filed two more bills that would restrict abortions for women based on their own personal whims. The laws wouldn’t be based in any science. There’s no medical need for them. They’re just different ways to make women suffer more.

Rep. Jim Olsen and Rep. Tammy Townley

The first bill, HB 1182, sponsored by State Rep. Jim Olsen, would revoke the medical license of any doctor who provides abortions (except if the mother’s life is in danger) for at least six months in addition to issuing a $500 fine. Considering that the vast majority of abortions require no surgery, or even a visit to a hospital, this is just punishing doctors for helping women.

This bill has already passed the Public Health Committee on a 6-4 vote (with two Republicans voting against it).

The second bill, HB 1396, sponsored by State Rep. Tammy Townley, would ban abortions (except if the mother’s life is in danger) after the mother learns the sex of the fetus. Doctors would be forced to ask women if they know the sex of the baby and then obtain a sworn affidavit saying as much, which could be used against the mother in court. (The bill would allow abortions in the case of sex-linked genetic disorders.)

In total, though, the bills are meant to punish women for having knowledge of what’s happening inside their bodies and punish doctors for conducting a routine medical procedure. They are just additional obstacles by Republicans who think they know better than women what’s best for their bodies.

They would no doubt be challenged in court if passed, but that’s also the point. With Donald Trump and the GOP-majority Senate pushing as many anti-abortion judges as they can to lifetime appointments at the district and federal levels, the conservatives are hoping their bills will be protected by judicial hacks who care more about conservative activism than the law.

Neither bill would decrease the number of abortions, of course. They would only lead to more unsafe abortions that lead to the deaths of more women. They don’t care. They’re only “pro-life” when it comes to fetuses, not human beings. Neither bill addresses any of the root causes for why women might ever want an abortion — because that would require a level of empathy and understanding these Republicans don’t possess.

Olsen, a Sunday School teacher, acknowledged that his bill punishing doctors would lead some women to “go out of state” for the procedure, but he added, “I do believe we will save some souls.” It’s a clear-cut case of a politician writing legislation to advance his religious agenda instead of doing something to actually help his constituents.

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