Oklahoma Bans Abortions in Almost All Cases — New Law Makes Performing Them a Felony

Under the new bill, which Gov. Kevin Stitt is expected to sign into law, abortions are only allowed if the mother’s life is at stake

Abortion Ban Oklahoma
Emily Wales, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, speaks to abortion rights advocates outside the Oklahoma Capitol. Photo: Sean Murphy/AP/Shutterstock

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would ban abortions in almost all cases and make performing them a felony, making it the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation yet.

The legislation, Senate Bill 612, only allows abortions if the mother's life is at stake, and outlaws all others, including cases of rape and incest, regardless of how many weeks they are into their pregnancy. Anyone who performs an abortion could be charged with a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The bill passed in Oklahoma's Senate last year before going to their House on Tuesday, where lawmakers voted 70 to 14 in favor of the ban. It will now go to Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, who previously promised to sign "every piece of pro-life legislation" sent his way.

Rep. Jim Olsen, a Republican who wrote the bill, said that their intention is that the bill would coincide with the Supreme Court's decision on Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Oklahoma's expectation, along with that of multiple other Republican-led states that have enacted restrictive abortion laws in the last year, is that the newly-conservative Supreme Court will overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that established the right to abortion with the Mississippi decision, and therefore make their legislation legal.

Oklahoma's ban would take effect Aug. 26.

Oklahoma has seen an influx of people seeking abortions from Texas ever since the state banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in September. Abortions in Texas have dropped 60% since their ban, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, but the Trust Women clinics in Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas said they've had an increase.

"What we saw very immediately after S.B. 8 is we doubled our volume," Kailey Voellinger, clinic director at Trust Women Oklahoma City, told NBC News. "We went from seeing about 100 to 150 patients to almost 300 in a month."

RELATED VIDEO: 'I Pray for All ... Who Will Suffer': Many Stars Are Outraged at Sweeping Alabama Abortion Ban

The bill passed through Oklahoma's House with no discussion.

"Nobody debated and nobody asked any questions," Olsen said, according to The New York Times. "I was actually kind of shocked."

Planned Parenthood, which runs two of the four remaining clinics offering abortions in Oklahoma, said that they plan to fight the law.

"This ban is more in line with the traditional bans that have been blocked in the past," Emily Wales, interim president and chief executive 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."

Related Articles