Oklahoma lawmakers pass a 6-week abortion ban similar to a Texas law that allows civil law enforcement 2022-04-28 13:01:00


The latest law passed by the Oklahoma legislature this month to restrict abortion rights comes amid a movement by Republican-led states to sharply scale back the procedure.

The Oklahoma Heart Rate Act Senate Bill 1503, bans abortion at a time when a doctor can detect early heart activity in a fetus or fetus, which can be as early as six weeks of pregnancy – before many women even know they are pregnant. The procedure provides exceptions for medical emergencies.

The bill would also allow private citizens to bring a civil action against anyone who performs or induces an abortion, intends to have an abortion, or knowingly aids or abets an abortion, such as paying for the procedure. Under the bill, the exemption would include at least $10,000 in statutory damages for each abortion the defendant performed or assisted in violation of the law, legal fees, and compensatory damages.

The bill prohibits filing a civil lawsuit against certain individuals, including a woman who has had an abortion or has requested the procedure. The bill also prohibits anyone carrying a woman through rape, sexual assault or incest from filing a civil lawsuit.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has pledged to sign every abortion-restricting legislation that reaches his office. Once signed, the law will take effect immediately. CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.

Earlier this month, stet I signed a bill Which makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception only in case of a medical emergency. The law, which will take effect this summer, makes performing or attempting to have an abortion a crime punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 or a maximum of 10 years in state prison, or both.

Oklahoma Representative Todd Ross, who has defended the bill in the House, previously told CNN that if the near-total ban signed earlier this month is appealed to the US Supreme Court, his bill could still be in effect. Noting that the Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to go into effect.

The bill passed the Republican-majority state House on Thursday by 68 to 12. The Republican-led Senate approved the measure last month by 33 to 11.

Planned Parenthood said it would go to court to stop the latest ban. Emily Wells, interim president of Planned Parenthood of Great Plains Votes, told CNN that the so-called Heartbeat bill is “concerning in many ways” about a near-total ban in part because it was modeled on a Texas law that states that abortion providers and Advocates struggled to prevent.

Oklahoma is the latest state to pass legislation similar to Texas law, after Idaho last month became the first state to adopt a law similar to that of Texas. Idaho law, however, was temporarily blocked by the state Supreme Court in a lawsuit brought by abortion providers.

CNN’s Rebecca Reese contributed to this report.