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Oklahoma Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

FILE - Oklahoma Republican Governor Mary Fallin speaks before the opening of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, Feb. 22, 2014. Fallin vetoed abortion legislation in her state Friday, saying it would not withstand a court challenge.

Oklahoma's governor on Friday vetoed a bill that would have effectively outlawed abortion in the state by making it a felony for doctors to perform the procedure.

Republican Governor Mary Fallin said the bill would not withstand a legal challenge.

“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,” Fallin said in a statement. Roe v. Wade is the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Nathan Dahm, had said he hoped the legislation would help to overturn the landmark ruling.

On Thursday, Oklahoma's Senate approved the bill, which said that anyone, including doctors, who performed an abortion would be found guilty of a felony and punished by up to three years in prison. The measure would have also revoked the Oklahoma medical licenses of most physicians who participated in such procedures. The legislation said an abortion could be performed legally only if it was done to save the mother's life.

Abortion rights groups said the bill was the first of its kind in the nation and called it unconstitutional.

Oklahoma lawmakers can still try to override the governor's veto, which requires a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate.