Former Abortion Ban "Trigger Bill" Now Calls for Vote on Anti-Abortion Constitutional Amendment

Mar 14, 2019

Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

A bill that would have outlawed abortion in Oklahoma in the event Roe versus Wade is overturned passed the Senate on Thursday after a total change.

Senate Bill 195 would now send a state constitutional amendment to a vote of the people that says nothing in the constitution is to be interpreted in a way allowing a right to abortion or invalidating restrictions on it. It was approved 40–8.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat said there’s a risk abortion rights groups will get a case before the Oklahoma Supreme Court and win.

"The Iowa Supreme Court read into the Iowa Constitution a right to abortion, and that has invalidated the 72-hour waiting period and the fetal heartbeat bill," Treat said, citing legal challenges there.

Sen. Joseph Silk leads the legislature’s most extreme pro-life faction. He voted against the bill because it does not consider removal of an ectopic pregnancy an abortion.

"I believe that a child in an ectopic pregnancy is still a child," Silk said. "This language … now says that the Oklahoma Constitution does not protect a child that is in an ectopic pregnancy."

Silk said there are around three dozen cases since 1917 of ectopic pregnancies being moved to the uterus. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an ectopic pregnancy cannot move or be moved to the uterus.

Democratic Sen. Julia Kirt was also among the eight votes against the bill.

"I am extremely disappointed that we’re discussing and spending time on such as speculative and polarizing bill when we could really be working on policies that actually help the health of Oklahomans," Kirt said.