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Oklahoma Senate passes three controversial bills that would restrict access to abortions

Oklahoma Senate passes three controversial bills that would restrict access to abortions

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Abortion abolitionists gather during their annual rally at the Oklahoma Capitol on Feb. 9.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Three bills the state Senate sent Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday would make abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected; would allow only obstetrician-gynecologists to perform abortions; and would take away the medical license of any doctor who does perform an abortion.

House Bill 1102 would add to the list of unprofessional conduct for doctors the performance of an abortion except in limited circumstances, such as to prevent the death of the mother.

The measure calls for the suspension of a medical license for one year.

Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, is the Senate author. Daniels said the measure was needed to limit the performance of abortions.

Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, said the measure seeks to penalize physicians for performing a safe and legal procedure.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said the measure is unconstitutional.

Courts repeatedly have thrown out Oklahoma laws that create barriers to abortion.

“If there is anything that should be unconstitutional, it is killing babies in the womb,” said Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee.

The measure passed by a vote of 37-10 and heads to Stitt’s desk.

The Senate also passed HB 2441, which would bar abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Daniels is also the author.

“The pregnant individual has a heartbeat,” Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, said in opposition to the bill. “A person should have bodily autonomy, and their heartbeat is important, as well.”

“The reason a woman has a heartbeat is because she was born,” Daniels said. “Please vote for this bill.”

The bill, which contains no exception for rape, passed by a vote of 37-10 and also goes to Stitt for consideration.

The Senate also passed HB 1904, which would require that any abortions be performed only by board certified OB-GYNs.

Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, is the Senate author.

Kirt said the measure reduces the access to health care for many across the state.

Jett said the measure “will reduce the number of babies who are killed in the womb. It will increase the number of doctors because those children can grow up to be anything they want.”

The bill passed by a vote of 36-10 and heads to Stitt for consideration.

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HB 2441 — a so-called “fetal heartbeat” law — by Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, would outlaw aborting fetuses once “cardiac activity” is detected. Rep. Russ spoke in favor on March 9.

barbara.hoberock

@tulsaworld.com

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