Life after abortion laws take effect in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Anti-abortion lawmakers in the Oklahoma state legislature are ready to declare victory in their fight to ban abortion in Oklahoma once and for all.

Senate Bill 612 cleared its last legislative hurdle on Tuesday, and it now sits on Governor Kevin Stitt’s (R) desk. Stitt has not vetoed a single anti-abortion bill since taking office, and sources tell FOX23 he isn’t about to start now with 612.

SB 612 bans all abortions, medical and surgical, in Oklahoma with the sole exception of the health of the mother being at stake during a medical emergency. At times, conservative lawmakers have been willing to make an exception for women seeking an abortion after experiencing rape or incest, but 612 does not carve out exceptions for those two causes of pregnancy.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” SB 612 Author State Senator Nathan Dahm (R- Broken Arrow) said. “As horrific as rape and incest are, that innocent child shouldn’t lose their life because of that.”

Dahm and many other conservative lawmakers believe SB 612 could be the last anti-abortion bill ever needed in Oklahoma. The current conservative makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in June that the Federal government does not have the regulation of abortion in its purview, and the decision to regulate the practice of abortion should be left up to the states. When that happens, all abortion law disputes will go to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court moving forward.

Currently, Oklahoma lawmakers are considering placing an amendment to the Oklahoma State Constitution before voters in the fall that would state there is nothing in the State Constitution that can be implies as ensuring someone the right to an abortion. When that is added to the State Constitution, anti-abortion advocates say that will be checkmate and game over for abortion in Oklahoma once and for all.

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SB 612 is expected to take effect in August, and many are wondering what would happen after it becomes official state law.

Dahm said abortion clinics don’t have to close their doors. They are more than welcome to offer things and medical services like pregnancy consultations, ultrasounds, and promote contraceptives. They just cannot perform an abortion anymore.

“This does not ban contraceptives,” Dahm said. “This puts and end to all abortions both medicinal and surgical, but contraceptives are not touched and still legal.”

If a doctor terminates a pregnancy outside of an emergency situation, the doctor faces a $100,000 fine and up to ten years in prison. Dahm said SB 612 has no way of tracking abortion activity in the state once in place, but if medical records are found where an abortion has been performed outside of an emergency situation to save the life of the mother, that could be used as evidence a crime has been committed.

“We are punishing the doctor for performing the abortion, not the mother,” he said.

The biggest change would be access not just for Oklahomans but also Texans who have been coming to Oklahoma to terminate their pregnancies after their state enacted very strict laws that prohibit an abortion after a heartbeat is detected.

Oklahoma abortion clinics report the vast majority of their appointments these days are women from Texas seeking their services, and there is a steady flow of Texas license plated cars at the Tulsa Women’s Clinic in midtown, the only place in Tulsa offering abortions both medicinal and surgical.

Abortion rights groups and Oklahoma clinic staffers told FOX23 they would tell their clients both, Texans and Oklahomans, to go to New Mexico or Colorado as their closest options to seek an abortion if SB 612 became law. Those states have more liberal laws, and Colorado has actually done the opposite and put a woman’s right to an abortion into state law.

>>>RELATED: Oklahoma state House approves bill to make abortion illegal