Oklahoma House Passes Texas-Style Law That Bans All Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2022   |   9:34PM   |   Washington, DC

The Oklahoma state House on Tuesday approved a pro-life law that would ban abortions in the same manner as Texas did — except it would go further by banning abortions starting at conception. The Texas abortion ban is a unique law that has been on the books for 203 days and saved as many as 17,000 babies from abortions.

The Texas law bans abortions starting when an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected — at six weeks — but the Oklahoma ban applies beginning at conception when a unique human being has started his or her life.

The House voted 78-19 to pass the bill, which is now headed to the state Senate and it would ban an abortion at any point in the pregnancy unless it is “to save the life” of the pregnant mother. The legislation would allow private citizens to pursue civil actions of up to $10,000 against anyone who performs or “aids and abets in the provision of such an abortion.” An “emergency clause” adopted means that, if the bill is signed into law, it would take effect immediately.

As one local news outlet reported, “Oklahoma’s lawmakers relied heavily on Texas as an example for their bill, with the Republican sponsor of HB 4327, Rep. Wendi Stearman, repeatedly citing the leading role that Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general, played in drafting Oklahoma’s legislation.”

Other pro-life legislation is also moving forward in Oklahoma. Last month, an Oklahoma Senate committee voted to approve four pro-life bills to protect babies, including an abortion ban.

“This is an opportunity to save more Oklahomans. I hope that we see a good decision out of the U.S. Supreme Court, but we can’t wait around for that,” Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat told the committee, Fox 23 News reports. “We need to save unborn life.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this summer on a Mississippi abortion case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion again.

Treat said the bills will make sure Oklahoma can begin protecting unborn babies’ right to life as soon as the high court allows states to do so.

One bill, Senate Bill 1553, would ban abortions more than 30 days after a woman’s last menstrual period. Another, Senate Bill 1503, modeled after the Texas heartbeat law, would prohibit abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy, and allow private citizens to sue abortionists who break the law.

TAKE ACTION: Support these bills by contacting Oklahoma state senators.

A third bill, Senate Joint Resolution 37, would amend the state constitution to ensure that “nothing in the Constitution secures or protects a right to an abortion.” To be ratified, the amendment must pass the legislature and then a state-wide ballot vote.

The committee also passed Senate Bill 1552 to provide grants through the Choosing Childbirth Act to help pregnant mothers find medical and housing assistance, adoption services, parenting education, job assistance and more.

About 4,000 unborn babies are aborted every year in Oklahoma, according to state health statistics.

All across the country, state lawmakers have introduced hundreds of pro-life bills this year in anticipation that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe this summer. Since 1973, states have been forced to legalize abortions without limits up to viability, and more than 63.5 million unborn babies have been killed.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates 26 states “are certain or likely to ban abortions” if the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe. And researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court allows states to ban abortions again.

TAKE ACTION: Support these bills by contacting Oklahoma state senators.