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Oklahoma House passes near-total abortion ban

The Oklahoma House passed a near-total abortion ban on Tuesday – the only exception being to save the life of the mother – with overwhelming support in the chamber. 

The bill, which passed 70-14, now goes to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk. He has said he will support any anti-abortion legislation. 

If signed into law, it would make performing an abortion a felony, publishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. 

Republican state Rep. Jim Olsen, who sponsored the bill, said the penalties would be for the doctor, not the woman. 

71% of AMERICANS SUPPORT ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: POLL

It follows a trend of Republican states passing restrictive abortion laws in the last few years, many of which have been challenged in the courts over their constitutionality under Roe v. Wade. But the U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which could leave Roe’s fate in the balance. 

“From my first day in office, protecting the unborn has been one of my top priorities,” Republican state Sen. Nathan Dahm, a U.S. Senate candidate, said after the bill passed, according to Tulsa World. “Senate Bill 612 is the strongest pro-life legislation in the country right now, which effectively eliminates abortion in Oklahoma.”

Abortion rights advocates gather outside the Oklahoma Capitol on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Oklahoma City, to protest several anti-abortion bills being considered by the GOP-led Legislature. 

Abortions in Oklahoma have increased by 800% since Texas passed a restrictive 6-week abortion ban last year.  

“A state of emergency exists in Oklahoma,” Republican state Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said, according to the Washington Post. “It’s sickening.”

Pro-life demonstrators march during the "Right To Life" rally on January 15, 2022, in Dallas, Texas. 

Emily Wales, interim president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, said, “They are more focused on governing our bodies than addressing real crises, like the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and rising maternal mortality rates,” according to Tulsa World.

The bill was passed with no debate and little discussion and comes after the state’s Senate passed the bill last year. 

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