State Lawmakers Debate Bills To Restrict Access To Abortion

Tuesday, March 9th 2021, 7:24 pm


Passions flared on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives as lawmakers debated two bills to restrict access to abortion in the state. 

Lawmakers spent hours debating HB 1102 and HB 2441. The first would punish doctors who perform an abortion by suspending their medical license for no less than one year. The other would outlaw abortion if there is a detectable fetal heartbeat. Both bills carve out exceptions for when the mother’s life may be at risk. 

“I for one don't want to see Oklahoma or the U.S. go back to the time when people are drinking rust tea or people are using hangers to get abortions because they need that life-saving medical care,” Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC said.

“I’ve heard it’s illogical, what we’re arguing for is illogical,” Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, said. “How is killing logical? What makes you more logical because you say they were going to have a procedure to kill babies?”

With a 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court, Republican lawmakers are hopeful one of these bills could make its way to the high court, overturning Roe V. Wade. 

“Will this law stand? I cannot give you a guarantee,” HB 1102 author Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland said. “But I can tell you that courts around the country have consistently ruled that physician licensure is under the purview of the states.”

“I've heard it being said that the bills will be struck down by the courts,” Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R- Okmulgee said arguing for the bill. “Quite frankly, they probably will, Mr. Speaker. But I'm going to continue to fight.”

The two bills are now eligible to be heard on the Senate floor.

“It's all political and it's all partisan and it drives me wild because there's so much important work to do,” Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC said.