Oklahoma is on the verge of becoming the first state to ban abortion entirely, following the passage Thursday of two bills in the Republican-dominated chambers of the state Congress.
The Oklahoma Senate gave the green light, with 35 votes in favor and 10 against, to a legislative initiative that vetoes all abortions, except in case of medical emergency, incest, and rape —as long as these last two assumptions are reported to the authorities.
The draft bill will take effect immediately when signed into law by the governor, Republican Kevin Stitt, who has promised to sign any legislation limiting abortion.
Hours earlier, the state Lower House approved with 68 votes in favor and 12 against another bill to veto abortion after the sixth week of gestation, which allows individuals to denounce those who provide abortion services.
This regulation, similar to the one approved in Texas last September, will also go into effect immediately as soon as it is signed by Stitt.
"*" indicates required fields
This law would veto abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at around six weeks gestation, and does not provide for exceptions in cases of rape or incest, although it does provide for exceptions in certain medical emergencies.
Two weeks ago, Stitt signed another law, which will be in force as of August, prohibiting abortion in all cases except those in which the mother’s life is at risk.
That legislation prohibits, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison, a doctor from performing an abortion at any time during pregnancy unless it is to “save the life” of the woman.
It also allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a pregnant woman have an abortion if they believe they violate the ban and offers financial rewards to the plaintiff if they win a lawsuit.