Mar 22, 2022 - Health

Oklahoma House clears near-total abortion ban

Photo of protesters holding an orange banner that says "RiseUp4AbortionRights"

Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Oklahoma House voted 78-19 Tuesday to ban all abortions unless it's necessary for saving a pregnant person's life.

Why it matters: The bill, which would incentivize private citizens to sue anyone suspected of helping a person get an abortion, would surpass Texas' six-week abortion ban to become the most restrictive in the nation.

  • The bill now heads to the state Senate. If signed into law, it would take effect immediately but would likely face legal challenges.

What they're saying: "After seeing the devastation caused by Texas’ abortion ban, Oklahoma politicians have taken the unconscionable step of imposing an even harsher ban on pregnant people," the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

  • "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," the Center for Reproductive Rights' Elisabeth Smith said in a statement

Worth noting: Many Texans had been traveling to Oklahoma to get abortions. According to Planned Parenthood, Oklahoma saw a nearly 2,500% increase in Texas patients compared to the previous year after Texas' law was enacted.

  • The Supreme Court is set to reconsider the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established the constitutional right to an abortion and could release a ruling as soon as this summer.

Details: Oklahoma’s HB 4327 would encourage private citizens to sue anyone who "performs or induces" an abortion, as well as anyone who "aids or abets the performance" of an abortion.

  • Like in Texas' ban, citizens would be awarded at least $10,000 for "each abortion" that a health professional has provided.
  • The bill also states that whoever is sued cannot say that they believe the bill is "unconstitutional" in order to defend themselves in a court of law.
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