OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Abortion bills were in the spotlight at the Capitol again on Wednesday. A day after the Oklahoma legislature put one of the strongest anti-abortion laws in the country on the Governor’s desk, a bill that has stood up in Texas courts is one step closer to becoming law in Oklahoma.
Yesterday SB612 passed on the House floor, that would make it a felony for doctor to perform abortions. Today a similar bill that allows for civil action against abortions goes through a House committee.
“Oklahoma is a very prolife state and we want to protect the preborn babies that are in Oklahoma and are in the world,” said Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell.
The “heartbeat bill” recently passed the full Senate.
“Basically 1503 prohibits a physician from knowingly performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detects a fetal heart beat,” said Russ.
This bill also allows Oklahomans to sue anyone who performs or aids in the act. That would theoretically include a person giving a ride to a woman to get an abortion.
That is concerning for opponents.
“There is a significant concern with privacy with this bill,” said Cindy Nguyen of the ACLU of Oklahoma.
This bill stalled in the House last year but language was changed to match the law that took effect in Texas seven months ago.
Like the many others passed recently, the ACLU of Oklahoma is calling this law unconstitutional but…
“The Supreme Court has actually upheld this language,” said Russ.
This bill passed through committee 7-1 the day after a bill that bans abortion went to the Governor’s desk.
So why are there multiple bills that result in the same outcome?
Republicans say its all about the pending US Supreme Court case from Mississippi that could rewrite the legalities of abortion across the country.
“We just want to make sure that we have our position correct depending on what that outcome is,” said Russ.
But opponents say any bans on abortions will just force women out of state to get the procedures they want.
“We know that people that need abortions are always going to find a way to get that abortion and we know that bills like 1503 as well as 612 is only going to limit the people without means to get abortions. It does not outlaw abortion, it simply outsources it,” said Nguyen.
SB1503 now moves on the House floor. If approved, it would go on to the Governor’s desk.
Speaking of Kevin Stitt, his office has not officially said if and when they will sign SB612, but they say, he has always said he will sign any pro-life legislation that comes to his desk.