HOUSTON: The state legislature in Oklahoma, a solid red state in south central United States, on Tuesday passed a bill that would make almost all abortions illegal.
Without debate, the state’s Republican-controlled House voted 70-14 to approve the bill, under which performing an abortion in the state would become a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a 100,000-U.S.-dollar fine. It allows only one exception for a medical emergency performed to save the life of the mother.
The bill, which passed the state Senate last year, is now awaiting Republican Governor Kevin Stitt’s final sign off. Stitt has previously said he would sign any anti-abortion bill that comes to his desk.
The bill follows the suit of a highly controversial Texas law taking effect 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) without exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
The number of U.S. states passing restrictive abortion laws has grown in recent years. Just in the past three weeks, Arizona and Kentucky state legislatures voted to approve a 15-week ban on abortions while Idaho Governor Brad Little 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, said The Hill report.
The Guttmacher Institute found that approximately 862,320 abortions occurred in the United States in 2017, resulting in an abortion rate of 13.5 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. (ANI/Xinhua)