Oklahoma’s Legislature gave final approval Thursday to an anti-abortion bill that providers say will be the most pro-life law in the nation once the governor signs it.
The bill is part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to protect the unborn.
It comes on the heels of a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that suggests justices are considering weakening or overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that applied constitutional protections to abortion.
The bill by Collinsville Republican Rep. Wendi Stearman would prohibit all abortions except to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.
“Is our goal to defend the right to life or isn’t it?” Stearman asked her colleagues.
Tulsa Women’s Clinic has STOPPED providing abortions when a heartbeat is detected!
My bill HB4327 will prohibit ALL abortions! FROM CONCEPTION!
We need the Oklahoma House to hear this bill next week so we can accept Senate amendments and send it to Governor Stitt! pic.twitter.com/Y5mFXqEaV2
— Wendi Stearman (@WendiStearman) May 7, 2022
The legislation then passed on a 73-16 vote mostly along party lines.
The bill is one of at least three pro-life bills sent this year to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican who has indicated he’ll sign it.
Another bill that prohibits abortion after a heartbeat can be detected in the unborn child, which experts say is about six weeks, already has taken effect and has already dramatically curtailed the practice in Oklahoma.
Another bill set to take effect this summer would make it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. That bill contains no exceptions for rape or incest.
“At this point, we are preparing for the most restrictive environment politicians can create: a complete ban on abortion with likely no exceptions,” said Emily Wales, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which stopped providing abortions at two of its Oklahoma clinics after the six-week ban took effect this month.
“It’s the worst-case scenario for abortion care in the state of Oklahoma,” she said.
Woohoo!! Best news ever!!! now babies will be born and not die!
— Taylor Tripodi (@taytaytrips) May 19, 2022
Like a Texas law passed last year, the Oklahoma bill would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion.
After the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that mechanism to remain in place, other Republican-led states sought to copy Texas’ ban.
Idaho’s governor signed the first copycat measure in March, although it has been temporarily blocked by the state’s Supreme Court.
After Texas passed its bill last year, there was a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions performed in that state, with many women going to Oklahoma and other surrounding states for the procedure.
TX abortions 2021
*TX Heartbeat Act Takes Effect Sept. 1*
The TX Heartbeat Act is saving lives!
— Michael New (@Michael_J_New) May 18, 2022
There are legal challenges pending in Oklahoma to both the bill to criminalize abortion and the six-week Texas ban, but the courts have not acted to stop either measure.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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