Pro-life senators ask for meeting with governor before overriding veto

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OKLAHOMA - Tuesday morning, Senator Nathan Dahm and a group of pro-life legislators held a news conference calling on the governor to meet with them about her concerns with Senate Bill 1552.

The bill would have allowed for a doctor to lose their license if he or she performs an abortion.

It passed both the House and Senate, but Governor Mary Fallin vetoed the bill, calling it unconstitutional and vague.

Dahm said, even though it’s crunch time for the budget, he’s still committed to his bill.

“We have up until Friday adjournment to do a veto override if we decide to do that, but we are wanting to talk with the governor before we go that route,” Dahm said.

A two thirds vote in both the House and Senate would be necessary to override the veto.

Dahm said they would need 32 votes in the senate.

33 senators already voted in favor of the bill.

In the house, they would need 68 votes.

59 voted in favor, but Dahm said more than 30 were absent at the time of the vote.

He pointed to a Rolling Stones article that came out the day after the governor’s veto.

The magazine interviewed the woman bringing an abortion clinic to Oklahoma City.

“This new abortion clinic was not sure that they were going to open because of Senate Bill 1552 but, now, with the governor’s veto of that, it looks like that is going to proceed forward,” Dahm said. “We could’ve saved more lives and limited abortion in this state and, now, it looks, with that veto, that will actually expand abortions here in Oklahoma.”

Julie Burkhart is the woman featured in the Rolling Stones article.

Burkhart is the CEO of Trust Women and the owner of South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas, where they perform abortions, among other women’s reproductive health services.

She said they are moving forward with plans to open their abortion clinic in southwest Oklahoma City in early summer, even if legislators override the veto.

“If there is an override then, internally, we will look at our options. We will, you know, be consulting with our in house local counsel,” Burkhart said.

She said they are not ruling out the possibility of litigation, and she said Oklahoma City needs this clinic.

“Oklahoma City is the largest metropolitan area in the United States of America that does not have a reproductive health care provider which includes abortion care,” Burkhart said.

She said they will offer all kinds of services - for women who want to have a baby, adoption services and services for women who want to terminate a pregnancy.

The governor’s press secretary said her top priority right now is getting a budget agreement and she does not currently have plans to meet with the group of legislators contemplating an override of her veto.

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