Oklahoma Senate lawmakers advanced five pro-life bills Wednesday to protect unborn babies and mothers from abortion.
Among the bills was state Senate Bill 612, sponsored by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow. The pro-life legislation would ban abortions by punishing anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion, CNHI Oklahoma reports. Exceptions would be allowed for medical emergencies.
Anyone convicted of violating the measure could face a fine of $100,000 and prison time, KTUL 8 reports.
Lawmakers in the state Senate Human and Health Services Committee voted 7-3 to approve the pro-life bills, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against.
“This is an issue where the state does have a responsibility to protect that innocent life, and that child in the womb is a unique human individual who should be protected,” Dahm told the committee.
Dahm said he expects Oklahoma will face a legal challenge if his bill passes.
“That’s one reason we have the attorney general’s office is to defend the state of Oklahoma anytime the state is sued. There’s also several pro-life organizations and different lawyers and legal groups that have offered their services pro bono …” he said.
A similar bill, sponsored by state Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, to ban all abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade also advanced to the full state Senate, the report states.
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The other pro-life bills that passed include two by state Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, to restrict the use of abortion drugs and another to ban taxpayer funding to any individual or group convicted of selling aborted baby body parts, according to the report.
Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.
Though the high court currently has a conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by a Republican president, has sided with the liberal justices on a number of occasions.
In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.