OKLAHOMA CITY, May 20 (UPI) -- In a move that came as a surprise to many, Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday rejected a bill that tried to make performing abortions in the state a felony offense, punishable by as many as three years in prison.
Bill 1552 was passed by the state senate Thursday and the House last month. The proposed law sought to punish and strip the licenses of physicians convicted of terminating pregnancies, except in cases that threaten the life of the mother.
Fallin, who calls herself the "most pro-life governor in the nation," was expected by many to approve the bill, making her veto a substantial surprise.
"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 in a statement Friday. "The absence of any definition, analysis or medical standard renders this exception vague, indefinite and vulnerable to subjective interpretation and application."
Opponents of the bill said it was in direct conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal.
"While I consistently have and continue to support a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that re-examination," she stated. "In fact, the most direct path to a re-examination 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."
Oklahoma lawmakers can attempt to override Fallin's veto, but it wasn't immediately known whether they would try.
The proposed law attracted widespread criticism from women's rights activists and pro-abortion advocates. Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America each sent a bill to the governor Thursday asking her to veto the bill.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue applauded the governor's veto Friday, calling Bill 1552 "unconstitutional and dangerous."