Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote To Make Abortion Illegal With Prison Time For Those Convicted
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Lawmakers in Oklahoma, USA, have voted to make abortion illegal in almost all cases.
The bill would make performing an abortion a felony, and those who carry them out face fines of up to $100,000 (£76,505) and 10 years in prison.
Abortions would be banned in almost all cases, except when it could 'save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency'.
There is no exception for rape or incest.
Oklahoma's House of Representatives – in which Republicans hold a supermajority – voted to send the bill to the governor's office by 70 votes to 14.
The state's governor, Kevin Stitt, has previously promised to sign all anti-abortion legislation.
If it does not get blocked by courts and passes into law, it will take effect this summer.
Republican Rep Jim Olsen – who authored the bill – said he was 'thrilled' the legislation could see 'many lives of babies saved'.
Speaking to CNN, he said 'rape and incest is a horrible crime', and although the baby is conceived in a 'horrible situation' it 'still has a right to life'.
"The baby should not be liable for the sins of the father," he said. "It's still a life."
But pro-choice groups are wondering why the mother should be liable for the sins of the father, and there is great concern about the impact the bill could have on the women of Oklahoma.
According to The Guardian, Dr Iman Alsaden, medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said: "When [patients] hear this is happening, and probably will happen soon, they are in shock.
"The implications of all of this is there's going to be a few states that are relied on to provide abortion care to people, and those people who do not live in those states will have to wait enormously long wait times.
"You're just looking at really making people jump through extraordinary hoops."
The Supreme Court is considering a case that could take away the right to abortion. We need your help to protect the right to safe, legal abortion — learn how you can fight back: https://t.co/ku5mCNii8z #BansOffOurBodies pic.twitter.com/w8Kn66xa5C— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) January 18, 2022
Indeed, it is feared the bill could have a knock-on effect for women in neighbouring Texas, where abortion after six weeks gestation was outlawed in September.
Since then, thousands of women have relied on services provided in Oklahoma, which could soon be banned.
Planned Parenthood said its abortion clinic in Oklahoma had seen an 800 percent increase in the number of women from Texas since it passed the restrictive anti-abortion law the US in decades.
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