An Oklahoma bill that would ban abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable is on its way to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.
On Tuesday, the state Senate passed the heartbeat bill and two other pro-life measures, the Associated Press reports. The vote on the heartbeat bill was 37-10, and Stitt, a pro-life Republican, promised to sign the bills into law.
Sponsored by state Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, House Bill 2441 would require abortionists to check for the unborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibit the abortion if the heartbeat is detected. Typically, that occurs 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.” Abortionists who violate the law could be charged with homicide.
The state House passed the bill in March.
According to the report, the state Senate also passed a bill requiring that abortions be done by doctors who are certified OB-GYNs and another bill that would add abortions to a list of unprofessional conduct actions by doctors.
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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 in February, and Texas is debating similar legislation.
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.