Oklahoma Senate Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   Micaiah Bilger   Feb 18, 2020   |   10:58AM    Oklahoma City, OK

An Oklahoma bill to protect unborn babies from abortion once their heartbeats are detectable passed a state Senate committee Monday.

Tulsa World reports the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the heartbeat bill in a 7-4 vote, moving it forward to the full state Senate for consideration.

Sponsored by state Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, Senate Bill 1859 would prohibit abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat or brain waves are detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Doctors who violate the legislation could have their licenses revoked.

Scott said he believes life begins at conception, but, medically, life often is determined to begin and end with the heartbeat and brain waves, according to the report. He said his bill uses “science to save more lives and close the gap on when you can perform a life-ending procedure.”

Democrats who oppose the bill raised concerns about a legal challenge and its cost to taxpayers.

Last year, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio passed laws to ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, but none are in effect due to legal challenges from the abortion industry. Alabama also passed a full ban on abortions, but that law also is being challenged in court.

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

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Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down both laws. In early 2019, a judge declared an Iowa heartbeat law unconstitutional.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week abortion ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an abortion case out of Louisiana in March. The case involves abortion clinic regulations and could be a good indication of how the justices will rule on abortion issues in the future.