Oklahoma Legislature passes 6-week abortion ban similar to Texas law

The bill prohibits abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat.

The Oklahoma Legislature gave final approval Thursday to a so-called “heartbeat bill” that seeks to ban most abortions in the state.

It is the latest bill in the United States inspired by the strict Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks, before most women know they are pregnant.

Officially called SB 1503, but known as the “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act,” the bill prohibits abortions after heart activity is detected in an embryo or fetus. There are exceptions when the mother’s life is in danger, but not in cases of rape or incest.

It’s not the first abortion ban Oklahoma has passed in 2022. Earlier this month, lawmakers passed a bill that would make abortion a felony, punishable by years in prison. prison.

SB 1503 allows any private citizen to sue someone who performs an abortion, intends to perform an abortion, or assists a woman to have an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. These citizens could receive at least $10,000 for each abortion performed.

However, a civil suit cannot be brought against a woman who has an abortion. Also, someone who impregnated a woman through rape or incest would not be allowed to sue.

The bill is now heading to Governor Kevin Stitt’s office, who is expected to sign it. Due to the bill’s emergency clause, it will come into effect once signed by the governor.

“We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country,” Stitt said when he signed the previous abortion bill into law. “We want to ban abortion in the state of Oklahoma.”

“Texas law has already saved the lives of many unborn children,” Sen. Julie Daniels, who sponsored SB 1503, said in a statement last month. “We can achieve the same result in Oklahoma with the SB 1503.”

Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights said they plan to ask the Oklahoma State Court to block the bill before it takes effect and ends most care abortion in the state.

“Unless these abortion bans are stopped, Oklahomans will be deprived of the freedom to control their own bodies and their futures,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. Federation of America, in a statement. “Unless these bans are blocked, patients will be turned away, people seeking abortions will be unable to access essential care in their own communities, and loved ones may be prevented from supporting them for fear of being sued.”

Since the law in Texas took effect in September 2021, thousands of women have flocked to Oklahoma to receive the procedure.

A recent study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas at Austin found that of the 1,500 women who have traveled out of state each month for abortions since September, 45% have visited Oklahoma.

Emily Wales, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said the organization has served hundreds of women who have traveled from Texas to Oklahoma seeking abortion care.

“Now, rather than serving as a haven for patients unable to seek treatment at home, Oklahoma politicians have made outcasts of their own people,” Wales said in a statement. “With today’s filings, we elevate the patients who otherwise will not be able to obtain care and call on the court to fulfill its most essential function: to honor the constitution and those in need of its protection.”

Under the bill making abortion a crime, any medical professional who performs an abortion faces a $100,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. The only exceptions for performing an abortion would be if the mother’s life is in danger.

Several Republican-led states have passed abortion legislation ahead of a Supreme Court ruling in June that will decide the future of Roe vs. Wade. The court will review a 15-week ban in Mississippi and decide whether it is constitutional or not. If the ban is declared constitutional, it could lead to Roe vs. Wade be knocked down or severely gutted.

ABC News’ Ely Brown contributed to this report.

ABC News

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