- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 21, 2016

Oklahoma’s Republican governor on Friday evening vetoed a bill that would have criminalized performing abortions in the state.

In a statement explaining her veto, Gov. Mary Fallin said SB 1552’s exemption for threat to the life of the mother was “vague” and “ambiguous.”

“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,’ ” she said.

The governor, who is considered a potential running mate to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, previously claimed to have signed every piece of pro-life legislation to reach her desk.

State Sen. Nathan Dahm, a Republican who authored the bill, said he was surprised by Ms. Fallin’s decision, based on her strong pro-life record.

“We were very surprised because she has claimed to be pro-life, but to veto the most pro-life piece of legislation to pass her desk speaks differently than the rest of her record,” Mr. Dahm said.

Despite deliberating over the bill for several months, Mr. Dahm said the legislature received no prior notice from the governor’s office regarding the clarity of the exemption provision.

“My experience has been that the governor’s office, the way they operate down there is inefficient and disorganized, so I’m not exactly surprised,” he said. “This is about my 10th veto, and they have not contacted me in advance with concerns about any of those bills.”

Of the legislature’s option to pursue a veto override, he said it’s “definitely a discussion we’ll be having.”

“I think people are starting to see that she may not be making the best decisions, so maybe a veto override would be better than leaving the decision solely up to her,” he said.

The bill passed by a 33 to 12 margin in the Senate, clearing the override threshold by one vote. Whether the House has the votes to sustain an override is less certain, as nearly a third of the lower chamber was absent at the original vote, Mr. Dahm said.

SB 1552 passed the Senate on Thursday. It would criminalize the performance of abortion, punishable by up to three years in jail, and revoke the medical licenses of doctors found to have engaged in the practice.

The bill was seen as a challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which created a constitutional right to abortion.

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