OKLAHOMA CITY, March 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Lawmakers in Oklahoma moved a step closer to banning the vast majority of abortions last week via legislation that would take effect as soon as the most basic signs of prenatal life can be measured.
The Oklahoma Senate voted 36-8 on Thursday in favor of a SB 1859, which would ban abortion once either a fetal heartbeat or fetal brain waves can be detected, the Associated Press reported. If put into effect, the measure would ban abortions starting around week six of pregnancy. The bill does not contain exceptions for rape, incest, or a mother’s health.
“A physician found to be in violation of this section shall be prohibited from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in this state,” the bill declares. “The State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shall revoke the license of a medical doctor who is found to have violated the provision of this section.”
“Doctors take an oath to protect life, so this will also hold them accountable for that oath by taking away the licenses of any who violate this law,” declared Republican state Sen. Paul Scott.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes spokeswoman Tamya Cox-Toure blasted the bill for both its general purpose of banning abortion and for its lack of exceptions. In fact, so-called “health exceptions” are a notorious loophole in light of Supreme Court precedent requiring they be interpreted to include “emotional, psychological,” and “familial” factors, and saving a mother’s life at the expense of a child’s would still be allowed under even the most stringent abortion bans – losing a baby as an unintended side effect of medical treatment is widely recognized as different from abortion, which is the direct application of lethal force.
Many such heartbeat laws have been passed across the country over the past year. They are generally not intended to immediately take effect, but instead to provoke a legal battle that would hopefully reach the Supreme Court and instigate a review of Roe v. Wade, thereby potentially overturning decades of pro-abortion legal precedent and freeing the states to set their own abortion laws.
SB 1859’s passage follows the legislative failure of Senate Bill 13, which would have added abortion to the state’s existing homicide statutes.
The heartbeat bill’s odds of enactment are strong, as Republicans overwhelmingly control the Oklahoma House and Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is pro-life. It is almost certain to be enjoined by a lawsuit before taking effect, however.