The Oklahoma legislature has passed a pro-life law that would ban abortions in the same manner as Texas did. The Texas abortion ban is a unique law that has been on the books for almost 250 days days and saved thousands of babies from abortions.
Once pro-life Governor Kevin Stitt signs the bill into law, Oklahoma will be the third state to have passed such a law, following Texas and Idaho. Although the Texas law has survived pro-abortion lawsuits and been affirmed at both the Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court, the Idaho law has been put on hold while the lawsuit agaisnt it continues.
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.
Under the bill, just like the Texas law, abortionists are prohibited from killing babies in abortions and, instead of a criminal enforcement by state or local officials, the law allows private individuals to file a civil lawsuit against abortionists or those helping abortionists to end the life of the unborn child.
The bill would also allow private citizens to bring a civil lawsuit against a person who performs or induces an abortion, intends to perform an abortion, or knowingly aides or abets an abortion such as paying for the procedure. Under the measure, relief would include at least $10,000 in statutory damages for each abortion the defendant performed or aided in violation of the act, legal fees, and compensatory damages.
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The bill would prohibit civil action from being brought against certain individuals, including the woman who had the abortion or sought the procedure. The proposal would not allow a person who impregnated a woman through rape, sexual assault or incest to bring a civil action.
The Oklahoma House voted 68-12 for the measure today and because it has an emergency provision in it, the new law would take effect immediately and would be expected to shut down most all abortions in Oklahoma.
Stitt signed a full abortion ban earlier this month but that ban is not expected to be able to be enforced as the Texas-style law would be — at least until Roe is overturned.
The Planned Parenthood abortion company indicated it would take this new law to court immediately.
“We are more concerned at this point about these Texas-style bans because they have, at least recently, been able to continue and remain in effect,” said Emily Wales, interim president and CEO at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates two abortion centers in Oklahoma, told AP. “We do intend to challenge those if they’re passed, but because of the emergency clause provisions, there would be at least some period of time when we could not offer care.”
Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, authored the bill and she had worked with the former Texas solicitor general on the text in the bill.
The Texas law has saved thousands of babies from abortions but some abortion centers in Oklahoma have been selling more abortions and this measure, in concert with the Texas law, would ensure more babies are protected.
“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.
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.