Oklahoma lawmakers pass near-total abortion ban and medical exceptions

  • Oklahoma lawmakers on Tuesday passed a near-total ban on abortion in the state.
  • The only exception, if implemented, would be for medical emergencies.
  • The bill goes to Governor Kevin Stitt’s office for final approval.

Oklahoma lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that would make it illegal to perform an abortion in the state except in medical emergencies, penalizing those who do so with up to $100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison.

The Republican-controlled state’s House of Representatives put the bill to a vote this week, after it passed the Midwest state Senate last year. He is now heading to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office for signing.

Stitt has signaled his support for anti-abortion legislation. If he signs the measure, it would take effect this summer unless blocked by the courts.

An abortion ban in Oklahoma would expand a part of the country where there is little or no legal access to abortion. The state has become a destination for Texas women seeking abortions since Texas in September banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

“These harmful bills are an alarming reminder that the days of access to safe and legal abortion may be numbered, and we must continue to fight to ensure everyone has access to the essential healthcare they need. , including abortion,” said Tamya Cox-Touré. , director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, said in a statement.

The measure passed by the Oklahoma House on Tuesday is one of several anti-abortion bills making their way through the state legislature.

Separate legislation introduced this year proposes to ban nearly all abortions and rely on private citizens to prosecute anyone who “aids or abets” abortions, similar to Texas’ six-week abortion ban. . This bill contains an emergency clause, which would allow it to take effect immediately once it is passed and signed by the governor.

The measure approved on Tuesday states that “a person shall not knowingly perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in the event of a medical emergency.”

Republican-ruled states like Oklahoma have passed a series of abortion restrictions in recent years.

The U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule by the end of June in a case involving a Republican-backed Mississippi law that gives its conservative majority a chance to undermine or even repeal the landmark 1973 Roe v. . Wade who legalized abortion nationwide. During oral arguments in the case, the conservative justices signaled their desire to dramatically restrict abortion rights in America.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter. Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)

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