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Fallin Vetoes Pro-Life Bill

By: Constitution Staff

Since her first campaign for political office in 1990, when she was running for state representative, Governor Mary Fallin has held herself out as "pro-life." She has gained enormous mileage out of that claim, even garnering the support of many well-respected pro-life female legislators when she won the governorship in 2010.

But when presented with a bill that would actually do what Fallin has claimed she was for all of these years (end abortion in Oklahoma), she vetoed it.

Authored by Senator Nathan Dahm, SB 1552 would have essentially ended the grisly practice of abortion in Oklahoma. The bill would have made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in Oklahoma, and would also have revoked the license if a physician who performed one. Representative David Brumbaugh sponsored the measure in the House.

Fallin argued that the bill could not withstand a "criminal constitutional legal challenge," that it was "ambiguous and so vague" and would be a waste of the state's money defending the bill in federal court. Supporters of the bill, however, say that Liberty Counsel had already agreed to pay for the expenses of defending it against any such legal challenge. They further claim that Fallin knew this.

Matt Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, was especially strong in his condemnation of Fallin. "As one who proclaims to be pro-life, her actions run counter to her words. This is a despicable betrayal of her word and of innocent children whose lives will be cut short because of her cowardly act."

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate 40-7 and in the House 59-9, enough to over-ride the governor's veto, but the Senate adjourned rather than allow a vote to do so.

Staver said that he and some Oklahoma pastors met with Fallin last fall and informed her of the bill, and that she indicated her support for their effort. "Six thousand babies will die this year (in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Norman). Their blood is on the governor's hands," Staver charged.

Why did Fallin veto the bill? Charlie Meadows, president emeritus of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) told New American magazine that he believes the real opposition came from left-leaning business interests. "It's my educated opinion that the real force behind the opposition here is the State Chamber of Commerce along with the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Chambers of Commerce."

This opinion was echoed by the conservative Tulsa Beacon newspaper. "Fallin more concerned about the opinion of her well-heeled handlers in the chamber of commerce crowd than the life of Oklahoma's unborn children."

In her defense, Fallin pointed out that she has signed other "pro-life" bills, such as HB 2797, the Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, which would establish a public education effort in high schools to educate children about the humanity and development of an unborn child. One observer told the Oklahoma Constitution, "Perhaps Governor Fallin and her allies in the business community should take the class."

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