Statement from Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood on Oklahoma Bill to Criminalize Abortion Providers

On May 19, the Oklahoma state senate passed legislation that would criminalize doctors who perform abortions, amounting to a complete ban on abortion services in the state. Physicians for Reproductive Health Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood issued the following statement:

“This dangerous and unconstitutional legislation in Oklahoma is yet another egregious example of politicians attempting to illegally ban abortion by intimidating doctors from providing services. It would limit our ability to meet the needs of women and threaten us with penalties for providing safe, compassionate, and necessary care. I hope reason prevails and Governor Fallin vetoes this harmful bill.

“As a doctor, I am especially concerned that the Oklahoma legislature is suggesting that abortion is somehow separate from the practice of medicine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Abortion is an essential part of the full spectrum of women’s health care, and with this legislation politicians are creating a grave and irresponsible barrier against women in need of reproductive care. That’s why major medical organizations oppose this type of blatant interference into the doctor-patient relationship.

“The doctors in our organization know that women deserve better. We know that access to reproductive care is essential for women to make the best health choices for themselves and their families. So even as we face a growing number of restrictions and attacks, we are proud to continue to provide abortion care to women across the country. Our decisions to provide are not based on politics, but on the real people we work with every day. And the stories of why we provide are a testament to the importance of providing abortion access to everyone, regardless of where they live — and to protecting women’s ability to make private decisions in consultation with their doctors. Our patients deserve to have access to care with dignity and respect.”