Oklahoma House Sends Texas-style Abortion Ban to Governor

Associated Press - April 29, 2022 6:19 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House gave final approval Thursday to a Texas-style abortion ban that prohibits the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.

The bill approved by the GOP-led House without discussion or debate now heads to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is expected to sign it within days. The assault on abortion rights is one of several culture-war issues conservatives in GOP-led states have embraced, like restricting LGBTQ rights, that drive the party’s base in an election year.

A coalition of Oklahoma abortion providers and abortion rights advocates immediately filed separate legal challenges in state court to both the Texas-style ban and a separate bill Stitt signed earlier this month to make abortion a felony. Legal experts say it’s likely both measures could be temporarily halted before they take effect.

House members also voted Thursday to adopt new language prohibiting transgender students from using school restrooms that match their gender identity and requiring parental notification ahead of any classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“They’re all concerned about their elections coming up and making sure they have something they can put on a postcard to talk about,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Midwest City.

The abortion bill, dubbed the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, prohibits the procedure once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which experts say is roughly six weeks into a pregnancy. A similar bill approved in Texas last year led to a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions performed in that state, with many women going to Oklahoma and other surrounding states for the procedure.

 

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