Oklahoma House lawmakers advanced a pro-life bill Thursday to protect unborn babies with beating hearts from violent abortion deaths.
Sponsored by state Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, the bill would prohibit abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk or a doctor certifies in writing that her pregnancy is “medically futile.”
“This bill is about protecting the most vulnerable – the unborn child,” Russ said. “Hearing a heartbeat confirms what everyone already knows: These are living babies, not clumps of tissue that feel nothing. This is one among a series of measures designed to protect and save unborn lives.”
The pro-life bill also would add information to state informed consent requirements for abortions. Abortion facilities would be required to inform women about the life-saving abortion pill reversal procedure and make sure women know that it is against the law to force a woman to have an abortion.
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Polls suggest many Americans support strong limits on abortion. A 2019 Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls also consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.
A number of states have passed heartbeat laws in recent years, but most have been banned from enforcing them due to legal challenges by abortion activist groups. South Carolina passed a heartbeat law earlier this month, but a judge blocked the state from enforcing it less than 24 hours later.
Other states with heartbeat laws include Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Tennessee. However, all of the states have been blocked from enforcing them by court orders.
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.