Oklahoma's Republican leader said he was "proud" to have signed into law the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt increased abortion restrictions in the state on Tuesday when he signed a bill that criminalizes abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. SB 1503 or the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act mimics the controversial Texas anti-abortion bill, a restrictive abortion rule that prohibits the termination of life of the unborn the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected. This often begins at the sixth week of pregnancy, a time when women are unaware that they are carrying a child.
"I want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country because I represent all four million Oklahomans who overwhelmingly want to protect the unborn," Gov. Stitt took to Twitter to say on Tuesday after signing the anti-abortion bill.
Oklahoma's Abortion Ban as a Replica of Texas' Restrictive Reproductive Laws
The recently passed Oklahoma Heartbeat Act is modeled after Texas' own abortion ban, which only allows exceptions for abortion if the mother's life is at risk, the pro-life organization Live Action reported. Texas' anti-abortion bill does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The Lone Star state's law also allows private citizens to enforce the law, awarding them with $10,000 for every person they sue who conducts or aids and abets a woman in getting an abortion.
But under Oklahoma's new anti-abortion bill, any civil action against the motehr is restricted. Just a few weeks ago, Gov. Still also passed into law SB 612, a measure that would ban most abortions in Oklahome, except in cases where the mother's life is at risk. In addition, the bill also names committing the act of abortion as a felony crime, the Christian Headlines reported.
Pro-life Activists Fight Back Against Restrictive Abortion Access in States
Oklahoma's anti-abortion bill inspired by the Texas Heartbeat Act was met with intense pushback from pro-choice activists who filed a lawsuit against the state in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. SB 612 was challegned in a trial court through an attachment to an existing lawsuit that disputed five previous abortion restrictions in Oklahoma.
As per KKTV, Oklahoma's anti-abortion bill took effect immediately after Gov. Stitt signed it. Also on Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected an emergency request seeking to temporarily halt the measure.
The state of Oklahoma hasonly four abortion clinics and has seen a consistent decline in the number of abortions performed in the last 20 years. Back in 2022, there were over 6,200 abortions, a number that has dropped to 3,737 in 2020. Gov. Stitt's decision to pass into law the anti-abortion bill inspired by Texas Heartbeat Act comes days after a Supreme Court draft opinion leaked, saying that the Republican majority of judges would likely overturn Roe v. Wade.