OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortions at conception.
House Bill 4327 passed with a vote of 73 to 16 on Thursday.
“It is my sincere hope that, in addition to the criminal bill passed this session, this civil liability bill will provide strong, additional protection of the life of unborn children in Oklahoma,” Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville said.
The bill passed after some back and forth between both sides of the aisle in debate.
“There can be no higher cause for you and I to address in this body, Madam Speaker, than the protection of innocent unborn life,” said Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland.
“If you’re preborn, you’re all good,” said Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City. “If you’re pre-K, good freaking luck if you’re born in Oklahoma. Good luck with an underfunded foster care system born into underfunded school system.”
The bill, if signed into law, would prohibit physicians from performing abortions at any point in a pregnancy, unless it is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life.
There is also an exemption if the pregnancy is the result of rape, sexual assault, or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.
It would also allow private citizens to file civil lawsuits up to $10,000 against anyone who performs or assists in performing an abortion. However, it does not allow the woman seeking an abortion to be sued. Oklahoma abortion providers and advocates reacted to the situation Thursday afternoon.
“We will fight with everything we have, but this is a devastating day for individual liberties,” said Planned Parenthood Great Plains CEO Emily Wales.
Those opposed to this bill since it starts at conception and could lead to further restrictions on contraceptives or even IVF treatments will be holding call Thursday afternoon and KFOR will report the reaction.
Another one of several abortion bills passed this session include Senate Bill 612 and it was signed into earlier this year.
“Senate Bill 612 would make abortion entirely illegal,” said Rep. Jim Olsen Tuesday on the House floor.
The bill makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. They would face up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Earlier in May, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed SB 1503, also known as the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, into law. The Texas-style “heartbeat” bill opens up physicians to civil lawsuits if they perform abortions after cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo – around six weeks of pregnancy.
Efforts to halt the law from taking effect have been, for now, shot down.
The Oklahoma State Supreme Court said no to an injunction while waiting to hear suits filed against the law.
Having passed the House, passed the Senate with amendments, and those amendments being accepted by the House, HB4327 now proceeds to the governor for his signature. If signed, which it is expected to be, it will take immediate effect.