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Oklahoma lawmakers approve bill banning abortions

If signed into law, the bill would make performing an abortion in Oklahoma illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Protestors gather for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally in front of the Oklahoma capitol building on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Zachary Gingrich-Gaylord/ Trust Women

Story at a glance

  • Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill that bans abortions in the state, and it’s now awaiting final sign off by the governor. 

  • It allows only one exception, in the case of a medical emergency where an abortion would save the pregnant women’s life. 

  • Oklahoma joins a growing number of states passing restrictive abortion laws. 

Oklahoma lawmakers gave their final approval on a bill that would make performing an abortion illegal in the state, with the final sign off being handed to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt. 

The bill passed the Oklahoma House on Tuesday and if enacted it would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The only exception it leaves is a medical emergency where an abortion would save the pregnant woman’s life. 

Stitt is expected to sign the bill into law, as he has previously said he’d sign any anti-abortion bill that came to his desk, according to The Associated Press

Oklahoma has passed a slew of anti-abortion laws, including a bill that would allow citizens of Oklahoma to sue doctors who perform abortions and file civil suits up to $10,000 against anyone who may try to perform an abortion.  


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That measure follows the footsteps of a controversial Texas law passed last year that allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs, aids or abets an abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected — usually after six weeks of pregnancy.  

The Guttmacher Institute found that approximately 862,320 abortions occurred in the U.S. in 2017, resulting in an abortion rate of 13.5 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. In the same year, 4,780 abortions were provided in Oklahoma, however some patients may have traveled to Oklahoma from other states and some Oklahoma residents may have travelled out of state for an abortion. 

Oklahoma’s bill comes alongside numerous other bills across the country being enacted that place similar bans and restrictions on abortion. Arizona and Kentucky state legislatures voted to approve a 15-week ban on abortions while Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a law that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. 

States like South Dakota and Tennessee have also moved legislation that takes aim at medication abortion, requiring women to make multiple trips to their doctor’s office in order to receive the two-dose regimen.  

Lawmakers and advocates across the country are anxiously awaiting for the Supreme Court to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That case will directly challenge the historic 1973 ruling on Roe V. Wade by calling into question a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. 


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