Apr 5, 2022 - Health

Oklahoma lawmakers approve bill to make abortion illegal

Picture of a person carrying a sign that says "abortion is health care"

Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

A bill that would make providing an abortion a felony is heading to the desk of Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt after it was approved by the state's House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Driving the news: House lawmakers were not expected to consider the bill this year because it had been introduced and approved by the state Senate in the previous legislative cycle.

Be smart: It differs from a measure passed in Oklahoma last month that would incentivize private citizens to sue anyone suspected of helping a person get an abortion.

Details: The bill passed Tuesday, SB 612, bans all abortions unless they're necessary to save the pregnant person's life. A person found guilty of providing an abortion would face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

  • The bill would take effect in the summer if Stitt signed it. He has previously said he'll sign any anti-abortion bill that comes to his desk.

What they're saying: “They are more focused on governing our bodies than addressing real crises, like the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and rising maternal mortality rates," said Emily Wales, interim president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, during a demonstration outside of the state House Tuesday.

  • "I have a message for every politician trying to limit our freedom and control our futures: Keep your bans off our bodies," Wales added.

Worth noting: Oklahoma abortion providers have seen an increase in patients from Texas seeking abortion care.

  • Planned Parenthood clinics in the state reported a 2,500% increase in Texas patients compared to the previous year during the first four months of the state's six-week ban being in effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to reconsider the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established the right to an abortion. It could announce a ruling as soon as this summer.

Go deeper: What abortion access would look like if Roe v. Wade is overturned

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