Oklahoma’s Near-Total Abortion Ban Surpasses Even Texas’s Six-Week Ban

Oklahoma’s state House on Tuesday voted 78-19 to pass a near complete ban on abortions, legislation that far surpasses Texas’ six-week ban. The Senate is now expected to pass the bill, which if it passes, will be the most anti-abortion legislation in the country.

The legislation — known as House Bill 4327 — bars a physician from performing or inducing an abortion at any point in the pregnancy unless it is “to save the life” of the pregnant person. Similar to Texas’ six-week abortion ban, the new legislation would allow private citizens to pursue civil actions of up to $10,000 against anyone who performs or “aids and abets in the provision of such an abortion.” An “emergency clause” adopted means that, if the bill is signed into law, it would take effect immediately.

“Abortion rights activists have been warning of this nightmare for months: These bounty hunter laws will have a domino effect across the country, as more and more states ban abortion entirely while Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land,” Elisabeth Smith, director of state policy and advocacy for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement.

But Roe v. WadeThe landmark decision that allowed abortions up to the point where a fetus can be raised independently from the womb in 1973 could be overturned this summer. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by June in a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Although the case is supposedly about a Mississippi ban of 15 weeks, nine justices were asked to examine whether Roe was incorrectly decided and should be overturned. Legal observers expect that a conservative majority of the justices will issue a decision which either weakens, or undoes Roe. Roe v. Wade protection.

Legislation based on civil litigation has been used by anti-abortion legislators as a workaround. Roe v. Wade protections. The Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ law. . have failed, too. Other Republican-led legislatures have followed the Texas model and banned abortion.

Oklahoma’s lawmakers relied heavily on Texas as an example for their bill, with the Republican sponsor of HB 4327, Rep. Wendi Stearman, repeatedly citing the leading role that Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general, played in drafting Oklahoma’s legislation.

Oklahoma, which has been a crucial access point for many, would see abortion restrictions in place. This would have a ripple effect throughout the region. Oklahoma was just one of many surrounding states to report a massive influx of people crossing state lines after Texas’ law went into effect last September.

According to Planned Parenthood data collected between September and DecemberAccording to some providers in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas, there was a nearly 800% increase in Texas abortion patients compared with the same time last year. Some Oklahoma providers have reported that there was even an increase in the number of Texas-based abortion patients. 2,500-percent increaseIn the six months to June, more than half of all abortion patients lived in Texas.

Myfanwy Jensen-Fellows, director of advocacy for abortion clinic Trust Women, previously noted that many people don’t have the option of traveling for an abortion. Trust Women operates clinics at Oklahoma City and Wichita in Kansas.

“If we lose access in Oklahoma, people who can travel will — but that’s really not a solution,” Jensen-Fellows said. “When one state goes dark, like Texas, people don’t stop getting abortions. They will travel if they can or they will potentially carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”

HB 4327The House Public Health Committee approved the ban earlier in this month. A six-week ban passed the SenateOn March 10, five other antiabortion measures were also adopted. The legislation bans on abortion 30 days after a person’s last menstrual period, allows pre-Roe v. Wade statutes to take effect if the decision were to be reversed, eliminates any right to abortion in the state, grants “full personhood” rights at the point of conception and allows the state’s health department to contract with private organizations that assist people carrying children to term.

Other state legislatures are voting on other abortion restrictions, including 15-week bans and “trigger laws” that would ban the procedure immediately if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Idaho succeededThe legislation was passed, but the governor is still required to sign it. Brad Little’s signature. A similar bill is currently being drafted in Tennessee. While Texas-inspired legislation has been introduced in other Republican-led states — such as Arkansas, Florida and Ohio – most of those bills have stalled,Experts believe this phenomenon may be due to the relative popularity of its civil enforcement mechanism.

Shefali Luthra contributed towards this report.