An abortion bill veto and the big picture theatrics

An abortion bill veto and the big picture theatrics

As the local legislative candidates have been organizing and meeting to discuss ideas of what messaging might work in our favor on specific issues, I have been able to impart some things I have learned in my dozen or so years of working on various political campaigns.  One thing I have taken due note of in that time is the abundance of one-issue voters, whatever issue it may be.  I have a rhetorical question I have posed on more than one occasion in the course of these discussions:

If you had a goose that laid 24 carat gold eggs every election day, would you wring it’s neck and roast it for Thanksgiving dinner?

  Gold egg Goose

Well, would you?!?  Most reasonable respondents categorically reply “NO!”  Of course not.  There is nothing like a gift that keeps on giving.  The abortion issue has been the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP every election day since Roe v Wade became the law of the land.

This past week along this the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66, under the great dome of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, amid a colossal revenue failure and subsequent budget crisis which now ranks as the worst in the history of the state, a Republican state senator managed to get a restrictive anti-abortion bill he authored passed by his legislative body.

Home schooled prodigy Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) saw his SB 1552, which would criminalize physicians who perform pregnancy termination procedures and allow for the revocation of their medical license, get passed with a 33 to 12 Senate vote.  One organization critical of the legislation stated it would be the most extreme law in the nation should it be enacted.  Dahm himself had verbalized high hopes of having his law challenged and taking it all the way to the Supreme Court with the intent of having it overturn Roe v Wade.  Fortunately his dream of making such legal history is going to have wait.

On Friday, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed SB 1552!

Citing problems with the bill, Governor Fallin stated, “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,’ ”  In her veto message she wrote, “The absence of any definition, analysis or medical standard renders this exception vague, indefinite and vulnerable to subjective interpretation and application,”

Senator Dahm was said to be disappointed and surprised with the veto “from a person who claims to be pro-life.”

On one hand the senator need not hang his head too low as the governor just made his reelection bid a little easier.

Golden Goose

In my heart of hearts I would like to believe the governor of my beloved home state made the decision to veto this bill for all the right reasons.  To be fair, the rationale that she gave for doing so had at least a veneer of reason.  However, knowing full well the history of the abortion issue and how the Conservative movement in general and Republican Party in specific have capitalized on its morality stirring impact, I had more than a sliver of doubt in the back of my mind regarding her motivation when I learned of the news of the Governor’s veto.  Here is what I mean.

How many voters do you know who:

1.) View things of a political nature through a moral lens with need to be on the side of good and not the side of evil.

2.) Have a limited understanding of the mechanisms of government and complex things like the free market economy.

3.) Possess neither the time, interest or wherewithal to educate themselves on critical issues but instead seek to make their civic duty easy by finding a single issue to define their choice of a candidate for whatever office, reducing it to a black and white decision.

I myself know more than a few and I am sure anyone reading this knows their fair share as well.

In an election year that is going to be difficult at best for many incumbent Republican legislators, keeping the abortion issue in play is going to be critical in mobilizing the GOP voter base.  Please keep this in mind as we approach the run up to the general election.  As it turns out, the Democratic stance on the issue, that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, is the majority view of the nation.  This however is not going to assuage the morals of those who see themselves as the protectors of the ultimately vulnerable, that being the unborn.  This extreme moral polarity ablates all nuances associated with the issue and its baggage.  This black and white thinking and subsequent decision making is a hard thing to counter during the heat of a campaign.  In the short run the right call was made by the governor.  I still have a hard time believing she did not have an ulterior motive in doing so.  At the same time I am glad the governor vetoed this bill, as draconian as it would have been.  It is true that the more things change the more they stay the same.  It appears we are back to where we started with the pro-lifers vs the pro-choicers, for better or worse.

Goose golden egg


  1. Ann Kent
    May 31, 2016

    The cut in education funding could be the legislature’s downfall this next election.

  2. Karen Walker Chapman
    May 24, 2016

    Spot on