As a growing number of Republican and conservative-governed states pass aggressive anti-abortion legislation in the run-up to a key Supreme Court decision expected this summer, Oklahoma has joined the fray.
Oklahoma’s House gave final legislative approval on April 5 to a bill that would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, reports a round-up at DailyMail.com.
The 70-14 vote by the Republican-controlled House sends the bill to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has said he would sign any anti-abortion bill that comes across his desk. If Stitt signs and the legislation is not halted in court, the new law would take effect when the state Legislature adjourns in the summer.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, a decision widely seen as having the potential to roll back the Roe v. Wade decision.
Oklahoma’s bill passed the state Senate last year and allows for abortion only to save the life of the mother, according to GOP state Rep. Jim Olsen, who sponsored it. The law would make no exception for rape or incest victims, and its penalties for a doctor or other person convicted of performing an abortion are a prison sentence up to 10 years and a $100,000 fine.
“The penalties are for the doctor, not for the woman,” Olsen specified.
Comparable anti-abortion bills approved by Oklahoma’s Legislature in recent years have been blocked by higher courts, including the Oklahoma supreme court, as unconstitutional. Texas recently created a new law that makes abortion civilly actionable, and it has so far remained in place.
The bill’s passage came on the same day as about 100 people attended a “Bans Off Oklahoma” rally outside the state Capitol in support of keeping abortion. One speaker at the event claimed Planned Parenthood’s single abortion clinic in Oklahoma has seen an 800 percent increase in traffic from Texas after passage of the new law there.