Oklahoma senator's bill promises to charge doctors with murder for performing abortions

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma senator introduced a bill this month that would charge doctors with murder for performing abortions.

Senate Bill 817 would make abortion illegal in the state, and would charge doctors with first degree murder for performing the procedure at any point after conception.

A similar bill was never granted a hearing on the senate floor last year. Though the legislature approved a bill that would have made the procedure a felony punishable by up to three years in prison, Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed it, saying it was unconstitutional.

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"Year after year, politicians in Oklahoma introduce legislation that would chip away at a woman's constitutional right to abortion, shame or stigmatize women who have decided to end a pregnancy, or outright ban abortion," said Amanda Allen, an attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which has successfully challenged numerous anti-abortion measures in Oklahoma. "The Center for Reproductive Rights urges the Oklahoma legislature to end its crusade against safe and legal abortion."

Senator Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) authored the bill. Its first reading is scheduled for Feb. 6.

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The bill is taking on public notice just days after thousands of women gathered across Oklahoma and the world to march for women's rights and others marched to state their opposition for abortion.