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20th May 2022

Oklahoma passes bill that bans majority of abortions

Sarah McKenna Barry

It is expected to reach the Governor’s desk next week.

The US state of Oklahoma has passed a bill which would essentially ban the vast majority of abortions.

As AP News reports, the state’s legislature passed the bill which prohibits abortion at the point of fertilisation with the only exception allowed when the woman’s life is at risk, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In these cases, the abuse must be reported to the authorities.

If signed by the Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma will become the state with the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. As it stands, only two of Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics are still operating. The others closed after Gov. Stitt signed a bill that prohibits abortion passed the six-week mark.

It’s understood that the new bill will reach the Governor’s desk next week. He had previously said that he would sign any anti-abortion legislation that is brought before him. If he signs it, the ban would come into effect immediately.

The ban, which is similar to the Texas six-week ban, would allow private citizens to sue anyone who performs or induces an abortion. This means that the person filing the lawsuit would receive at least $10,000 for each abortion.

Another bill expected to reach Gov. Stitt’s desk is one that would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. This bill contains no exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.

Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the passing of the law.

On Twitter, she wrote: “Today, Oklahoma passed a law effectively banning abortion from the moment of fertilization–the latest in a series of blatant attacks on women by extremist legislators.

“It has never been more urgent that we elect pro-choice leaders at the local, state, and federal level.”

The passing of the bill comes just a few weeks after a leaked document that anticipates the overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court.

Roe v Wade was a decision made in 1973 which made abortion a constitutional right in the entire country. However, if it gets overturned, it will allow for the individual states to enforce their own abortion laws.