Oklahoma Senate panel approves 4 abortion bills, rejects 1

OKLAHOMA CITY — (AP) - An Oklahoma Senate panel approved four anti-abortion bills on Wednesday but defeated one far-reaching abortion measure that would give a fetus equal protection under the law.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a so-called " trigger bill " that would make abortion illegal in Oklahoma if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion. At least 10 states have similar laws, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

The committee also approved a pair of bills designed to restrict the use of chemical abortions and one that would make it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

By a vote of 0-10, the panel defeated a bill by Republican freshman Sen. Warren Hamilton that would give a fetus equal protection under the law and repeal all sections of law governing the use of abortions. The bill would also direct the state’s attorney general to enforce the criminalization of abortion regardless of federal law or court decisions.

The defeat of the bill prompted chanting and shouting from a large group of anti-abortion activists gathered outside the committee room.

Oklahoma is one of several states where GOP gains are lending more momentum to prohibitions on the procedure.