The Republican-led Oklahoma State House has passed an almost complete ban on abortion where the life of a pregnant person is endangered.
Under the bill, anyone who has an abortion could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 100,000. The bill, first passed in the Oklahoma Senate last year, was abruptly revived on Tuesday without explanation from Republican lawmakers.
It will now turn to Republican Gov. Kevin Steet, who has pledged to sign any anti-abortion law across his desk and has previously described himself as America’s “most pro-life governor.”
The ban will take effect 90 days after the state legislature adjourned at the end of May unless the court intervenes. Reproductive rights groups are expected to file a legal challenge to the ban, which they believe is unconstitutional. 1983 US Supreme Court ruling Rowe vs. Wade A pregnant woman’s basic right to seek an abortion is recognized, but it has been observed that states can still impose restrictions on the health of a pregnant woman and the potential life-saving services of the fetus once it survives outside the womb.
These legal challenges could be successful because the bill is similar to other Oklahoma laws recently rejected by the state Supreme Court, which includes laws that restrict drug abortions, suspend the licenses of abortion practitioners, and prohibit abortions within six weeks. Pregnancy but if the US Supreme Court would have reversed Rowe vs. WadeAs it is widely expected, the new ban may survive
Rabia Mukaddam, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that “without notice, the Oklahoma Legislature has re-enacted a bill that is clearly unconstitutional and leaves a clear precedent for the Oklahoma Supreme Court.” “The Oklahoma Supreme Court has repeatedly found that the state’s efforts to limit abortion are unconstitutional, as this complete abortion ban is explicit.”
The passage of the bill came as a surprise to supporters of the state’s abortion rights, who saw it as a political statement in response to their “Ban of Oklahoma” rally in the state capital on Tuesday. The measure was put on the agenda on Tuesday, fairly late in the legislature session, and passed that day with very little time for debate.
“The bill has come out of nowhere,” said Tamaya Cox-Tour, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. “It was a direct reflection of the fact that 350 people had gathered to demand access to abortion. And that was their revenge. “
For the remaining abortion providers in Oklahoma, the bill would be catastrophic. There are only four such facilities across the state, which have seen growing demand since last September, when neighboring Texas imposed a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Trust Women – which operates a clinic in Oklahoma City that provides drug and surgical abortions up to the current legal limit of 21.6 weeks – has seen a 2,500 percent increase in patients. Although the clinic doubles the number of days of the week open to two to four, patients may have to wait two to four weeks for an abortion, sometimes being forced to move to another state if it holds their time. During that time abortion is legal in Oklahoma.
“It simply came to our notice then. We now see mostly out-of-state patients, “said Maffey Jensen-Fellow, director of the Trust’s Women’s Advocacy. “It affects the whole region.”
This is not the last anti-abortion move in this session of the Oklahoma Legislature. The state Senate has already passed the so-called Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, a copy of the Texas ban that allows any individual to sue doctors for abortion without the fetal cardiac activity being detected (usually within a period of about six weeks). In case of a medical emergency. The State House will debate the bill in committee Wednesday.