The state of Oklahoma passed three laws on Monday that seek to close the options to abortion by criminalizing this procedure as unprofessional conduct and including penalties such as license suspension for doctors who terminate a pregnancy without a life-threatening risk.
The rules approved by the local Legislature were signed Monday by the governor of that state, Republican Kevin Stitt, to take effect on November 1, which anticipates a legal battle on the part of abortion advocates.
“We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn,” Stitt noted on his Twitter account.
In April of last year, an Oklahoma judge blocked an executive order by Stitt that limited access to abortion under cover of the coronavirus health emergency.
One of the laws signed on Monday establishes that only a physician licensed to practice in the state and certified in obstetrics and gynecology can terminate a pregnancy, with penalties of between 1 and 3 years in prison for those who violate it.
This regulation provides that no one may induce an abortion on a woman “after the end of the first trimester”, unless it is performed in a hospital.
Another regulation makes it “unprofessional conduct” to perform an abortion unless it seeks to “avoid the death of the mother” or to avoid a “substantial or irreversible physical deterioration” that puts her at risk of death.
Failure to comply may result in, “but shall not be limited” to, suspension of license for a period of not less than one year.
In addition, the governor enacted legislation providing that an abortion may not be performed without first determining whether the unborn child “has a detectable heartbeat.”
The “fetal heartbeat” can only be detected by ultrasound after the sixth week of pregnancy.
The conservative movement and Republicans have tried in recent years to restrict abortion in the United States through the states, but have so far run up against the Supreme Court, which has upheld its constitutionality at the federal level.
In addition to the anti-abortion laws, Stitt signed a law making Oklahoma a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” guaranteeing the right to freely bear arms.
He also signed a bill to prevent cities in that state from dismantling the police force by defunding it, as radical progressive activists have called for and pushed for.