Oklahoma House Passes Bill Banning Abortion After Six Weeks, Sends It to Governor's Desk

© AFP 2023 / LEIGH VOGELPerformers hold signs and flowers during ACT FOR ABORTION in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on January 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Performers hold signs and flowers during ACT FOR ABORTION in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on January 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.04.2022
Over the recent months, Republican-led states in the United States have been imposing increasingly stringent abortion legislation, pending a Supreme Court decision that could change or overturn the seminal 1973 Roe v. Wade precedent that secured women's constitutional right to terminate pregnancies.
The House of Representatives in the US state of Oklahoma passed on Thursday by a 68-12 vote a bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with exceptions being allowed only in cases of medical emergencies but not rape or incest.
The bill, modeled on the Texas law that also bans abortions after six weeks, received criticism from some women's rights activists, who say that at this period of gestation many women do not yet know about their pregnancy.
The bill was already approved by the state’s Senate in March and is now expected to be signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt.

“Oklahoma is a very pro-life state, and we want to protect the preborn babies that are in Oklahoma and are in the world,” state Rep. Todd Russ (R), who co-authored the legislation, told the Washington Post.

The state previously voted for another bill earlier this month that provides a total abortion ban, even in cases of rape or incest. The state Senate passed the bill last year and Governor Stitt has already pledged to sign any law supported by state legislators.
The changes in Oklahoma abortion legislation are taking place amid an influx of women from neighboring Texas, where abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy was officially prohibited in September 2021.

“A state of emergency exists in Oklahoma,” said state Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R), the leader of the Senate who introduced the six-week ban, referring to the number of abortions the state's clinics have carried out since Texas enacted its law. “It’s sickening. And that’s the reason we’re making every effort to get our laws changed.”

The US Supreme Court is currently reviewing the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which might set a precedent reversing the 1973 ruling. Until 1973, abortion was illegal in most American states. The case of Roe v. Wade set a legal precedent prohibiting a complete ban on abortion by state law and ordering all states to legalize the procedure.
The court's decision is expected to come in June. Since the Supreme Court is dominated by conservative judges, a number of states are now taking various measures to make abortion completely illegal, or to limit access to it.
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