Oklahoma lawmakers advanced a bill modeling one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country.
With Republican supermajorities in the House and Senate, passing anti-abortion bills is nothing new for the Oklahoma legislature. This year, however, they’ve found one that they think may just stick.
“We are very carefully mirroring this off the Texas heartbeat bill,” Oklahoma Heartbeat Act Author Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, said.
The bill would allow anyone to sue a doctor or someone who ‘aid and abeted’ an abortion after about six weeks. The civil damages would be no less than $10,000.
An online analysis shows language in the Oklahoma bill is a nearly 40 percent match the Texas law enacted last year, a law the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to take effect.
“The three previous bills I’ve done have all been enjoined. They’re all in court,” Daniels said. “But this one we know for now actually works.”
Democrats walked out of the Senate Chamber twice, attempting to slow the voting process. Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, broke from his colleagues voting in favor of the bill.
“It creates a surveillance state in our communities where neighbor will be watching over neighbor, educators, church friends, anyone. Anyone literally in this bill could bring a civil suit,” Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, said.
Three Republicans voted against the bill, saying it doesn’t go far enough.
“This bill does not establish justice for those who do not have a voice,” Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, said.
The bill passed 33-11 and is now eligible to be heard in House committee.
“My goal is to save lives of white babies and Black babies, who are the most are the victims most often of abortion,” Daniels said.
A handful of other anti-abortion bills passed out of the Senate Thursday, including one that would ban abortion 30 days after a pregnant woman would have started per menstrual cycle.