The founder of the Protect Life and Marriage Initiative, Pastor Paul Blair, had urged Gov. Mary Fallin to pass Senate Bill 1552, an antiabortion bill that the governor vetoed Friday.
Fallin vetoed what her office called an unconstitutional antiabortion bill. Fallin cited the measure was vague and would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge.
Senate Bill 1552 would have made it a felony for physicians to perform abortions. It also contained a provision to revoke their medical licenses unless the abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother.
“The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother,’” Fallin said. “The absence of any definition, analysis or medical standard renders this exception vague, indefinite and vulnerable to subjective interpretation and application,” she wrote in her veto message.
Americans United for Life earlier this year named Oklahoma as the most pro-life state.
Blair, 53, is a candidate for the Senate District 41 seat that will be left vacant due to term limits set upon state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond. Blair previously ran for District 41 against Jolley.
“While I consistently have and continue to support a reexamination of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that reexamination,” Fallin wrote. “In fact, the most direct path to a reexamination of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade is the appointment of a conservative, pro-life justice to the United States Supreme Court.”
Blair said medical licensing is a state issue. He said because physicians take an oath to intentionally do no harm to a patient, it is reasonable to insist doctors honor their oath to do no intentional harm to either a mother or child.
The bill, authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, was an idea presented by the Protect Life and Marriage Initiative. SB-1552 passed the Oklahoma Senate May 19 by a vote of 33-12.
“SB-1552 is constitutional and is an appropriate regulation of physician licenser and professional conduct,” said Richard Mast, Liberty Counsel’s lead attorney. “While respecting and protecting the rights of women in danger from life-threatening conditions, the bill makes performance of an abortion grounds for revocation or denial of physician license.”
A recent survey conducted by Sooner Poll shows Oklahomans overwhelmingly support for pro-life legislation. When Oklahomans were asked whether they would support a state legislative act which made all abortion illegal, except when the mother’s life is at stake, 55.3 percent of voters said they would. The poll was conducted among Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s 5th District Congressman, Lt. Col. Steve Russell (ret.), announced his support for Blair in the Republican Primary for Senate.
“Paul Blair is a rare and gifted American who inspires others to be the best that they can be,” Russell said.
Russell believes Blair will be a great success in the Oklahoma Senate because of his understanding of business issues, dedication to pro-life legislation and his ability to work as a team.
“Paul quickly became a successful small businessman, pastor, community leader and defender of religious liberty who brings innovative ideas, compassion and teamwork to complete any task,” Russell said.
Blair will face Jeff Tallent, 70, and Adam Pugh, 38, in the Republican primary election June 28.
Edmond Democrat Kevin McDonald, 41, the 2015-16 District Teacher of the Year, also filed for Senate District 41 and will face the Republican nominee Nov. 8. Edmond Libertarian Richard Prawdzienski, 68, is vying for Senate District 41.