Oklahoma Senate Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions Once Roe v. Wade is Overturned

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 26, 2019   |   11:13AM   |   Oklahoma City, OK

An Oklahoma Senate panel passed a bill Monday to ban all abortions in their state once the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The 1973 case crippled states’ ability to protect unborn babies, but many have renewed hope that the abortion ruling will be overturned someday. When it happens, abortions will not immediately become illegal. Instead, states will have to take action to protect unborn babies once again.

In anticipation of that day, state Senators passed the Personhood Act (Senate Bill 195) in an 11-4 vote, moving it forward in the Senate, the AP reports.

The bill would protect unborn babies in Oklahoma by banning abortions either if Roe v. Wade is overturned or a U.S. Constitutional amendment passes to allow states to protect unborn life once again.

NewsOK reports some pro-life advocates expressed disappointment that the bill does not immediately protect unborn babies. They urged the committee to pass another bill, Senate Bill 13, which would immediately criminalize abortions in Oklahoma.

State Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, who wrote Senate Bill 195, said he wants to see unborn babies protected as well, but pro-lifers need to be strategic, according to the report.

Treat expressed concerns about legislation that likely would be ruled unconstitutional. When states lose such cases, taxpayers often are forced to pay pro-abortion groups’ legal fees.

“I believe Roe v. Wade was a poor decision, but I also value the rule of law and there is a right way to do this,” Treat said.

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Arkansas passed a similar law last week, making it the fifth state that would immediately ban abortions if Roe is overturned. The others are Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota. Kentucky and Tennessee also are considering bills that would do the same thing.

The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.

Legal scholars give different estimates about the number of states that would prohibit abortions once Roe is overturned. Several have laws similar to the one that Arkansas passed this month, while others still have pre-Roe abortion bans that would take effect again when the infamous ruling is overturned.

In 2017, the abortion advocacy group NARAL predicted that 13 states immediately would ban abortions if the high court overturns Roe. Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights put their estimate at 22 states.

More than 60 million unborn babies have been aborted since 1973 in America.