Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed a bill that would ban virtually all abortions in her state, in a surprising move.
The strongly anti-abortion governor, who has been floated as a possible running mate for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE, announced Friday afternoon that she would reject the bill because it was “vague and would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge.”
“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, in which she called herself "the most pro-life governor in the nation."
The bill would have made it a felony for doctors to perform abortions, which opponents say is essentially a ban on the procedure.
Fallin had remained mum about the bill since Thursday, when it was approved by a party-line vote in the Oklahoma Senate. She had until next Wednesday to sign or veto the bill.
Long-time observers of Fallin’s political career had said they expected her to approve the bill in an effort to cement her place among the GOP’s Christian right and position herself to land on Trump’s ticket.
Fallin’s political record on abortion is strong; she has never vetoed an anti-abortion bill as governor and stuck to her position during her time in Congress as well.
But Fallin also had to take into account potentially hefty financial costs. Any legal challenge would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars — if not $1 million — in expenses for the Oklahoma government, experts say. Oklahoma’s budget deficit recently climbed to $1.3 billion.