Speed Reads


Oklahoma lawmakers pass near total-ban on abortion

The Oklahoma House passed a bill on Tuesday that would make it a felony to perform an abortion in the state "except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency," punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The measure, Senate Bill 612, passed with a vote of 70 to 14. Last year, the bill was approved by the Oklahoma Senate, and it now heads to the desk of Gov. Kevin Stitt (R). Stitt has called himself "the most pro-life governor in the country," and said he made a promise to Oklahomans that he would "sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk." Should he sign the bill as expected, and the courts uphold it, the ban will go into effect on Aug. 26, The New York Times reports.

Since Texas enacted its law banning abortion once any cardiac activity is detected, women there have been traveling out of state to have the procedure done, with many coming to Oklahoma because of its close proximity. Planned Parenthood operates two of Oklahoma's four abortion clinics, and intends to challenge the legislation in court. "This ban is more in line with the traditional bans that have been blocked in the past," Emily Wales, interim president of CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told the Times. "So we are fairly confident that, as long as Roe remains the law of the land, there is a path to blocking this."