Oklahoma legislature passes bill banning abortion in all cases except for medical emergencies

Oklahoma legislature passes bill banning abortion in all cases except for medical emergencies

The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted Tuesday to enact a law that makes it a felony to perform or attempt to perform an abortion, except to save the life of the pregnant woman in a medical emergency.

S.B. 612 makes performing or attempting to perform an abortion punishable by a fine of $100,000 or up to ten years in prison.

The law defines a “medical emergency” as a condition which cannot be remedied by delivery of the child in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

The law provides for an affirmative defense against prosecution for licensed physicians who provide medical treatment that accidentally or unintentionally results in the termination of a pregnancy.

S.B. 612 passed with 70 votes for, and 14 votes against. S.B 612 will now be passed to Governor Kevin Stitt (R) to sign. If Stitt does sign the bill, it would take effect by summer, unless overturned by the courts.

Oklahoma has become a destination for Texas women seeking abortions since Texas in September banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

“These harmful bills are an alarming reminder that the days of access to safe and legal abortion may be numbered, and we must continue to fight to guarantee all people have access to the essential health care they need, including abortion,” Tamya Cox-Toure, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, said in a statement.

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