The Oklahoma House passed a heartbeat bill banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. Governor Kevin Stritt signed the bill into law on May 2nd.
“It’s identical to the bill that was enacted by the Texas Legislature last year, and that bill has passed muster with the United States Supreme Court,” Tony Lauinger, the chairman of Oklahomans for Life, told the Associated Press. “We are hopeful that this bill will save the lives of more unborn children here in Oklahoma as well.”
This bill comes on top of another piece of pro-life legislation in the state. Earlier this month, Stitt signed a law making performing abortions a felony.
These pieces of legislation represent a major development in anti-abortion efforts in the region, as many abortion seekers have fled to Oklahoma since Texas’ ban went into effect last September. “Before the Texas ban took effect last year, about 40 women from Texas had abortions performed in Oklahoma each month, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health,” the AP reports. “That number jumped to 222 Texas women in September and 243 in October, the agency reported.”
These numbers represent a large portion of those leaving Texas in search of abortion services. Oklahoma has received “nearly half of all Texas patients who have traveled out of state for abortions since Texas enacted a similar law last fall,” according to the Washington Post.
News outlets that report on these recent pieces of pro-life legislation have discounted the term “heartbeat” by rebranding it “fetal cardiac activity.”
Here at NEWSworthy, Ed Mechmann has noted that progressive states could use the model of the Texas heartbeat law to hurt prolife causes down the road. But currently, it would appear that these laws are protecting babies lives that, heartbeat or not, are worth protecting.