On Tuesday, the Oklahoma legislature passed a pro-life bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state if signed into law.
The bill would prohibit abortions from the start of pregnancy and only allows for an abortion to save the life of the mother. A person who performs an illegal abortion could spend up to 10 years in prison and face a fine of $100,000. The House passed the bill in a 70 to 14 vote, and the Senate approved the bill last year.
One of the sponsors of the bill, state Representative Jim Olsen (R), pointed out that “[t]he penalties are for the doctor, not for the woman,” per NPR.
The bill now heads to Republican Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk. Stitt voiced his support for pro-life laws at a bill signing ceremony last year.
“I promised Oklahomans I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise,” Governor Stitt said in September. “As a father of six, it’s an honor to be the most pro-life governor in the country and I will always step up to protect the lives of unborn children.”
Women from Texas seeking abortions have reportedly traveled to the nearby state in order to obtain the procedure.
NPR reported that Emily Wales, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said that Planned Parenthood’s Oklahoma abortion clinic has experienced an 800% spike in the number of women from Texas after politicians there passed its pro-life law. The law bans abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy.
The Wall Street Journal reported that around half of the patients at Trust Women, an abortion provider with a clinic in Oklahoma City, now arrive from Texas, contrasted with 10% before the Texas law went into effect, according to Rebecca Tong, the clinic’s co-executive director.
Oklahoma has taken action to advance pro-life legislation as the Supreme Court is set to hear a case out of Mississippi that could overturn Roe v. Wade. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, concerns a law out of Mississippi that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Supreme Court precedent currently holds that states must allow women to access abortions up to the point of fetal viability, which is typically around 20 – 24 weeks of pregnancy.
State Representative Olsen also said supporters of the Oklahoma measure hope that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Mississippi case will provide the states with more ability to restrict abortion.
“We do have some hope that there is a possibility that the result would be that it would return it back to the states,” he said, referencing the Supreme Court, per The Journal.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a pro-life bill last month.
“The law, HB 4327, would outlaw doctors in the state from performing any abortions unless the life of the mother is at risk. Private citizens could also sue doctors or others in the state in violation of the law for up to $10,000,” The Daily Wire highlighted. “The bill next moves to the state’s Senate where it will likely pass under the GOP-led majority. The governor has not yet stated whether he would sign the bill into law. If enacted, the bill is set to go into effect on November 1, 2022.”
Legislatures in Florida, Kentucky, and Arizona have passed 15-week abortion bans, as well.
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