Oklahoma Senate Will Not Take up Blanket Abortion Ban But Will Consider Other Measures This Session

Feb 17, 2020

Credit Serge Melki

The state Senate will again this year not take up a bill to completely ban abortion in Oklahoma.

Sen. Joseph Silk introduced Senate Bill 13 last year. It would classify abortion as a crime and not offer any exceptions, even to save a mother’s life. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat did not allow the measure even a committee hearing last year, and said it still has the same "fatal flaw."

"The part that I find unenforceable is saying that we’re not going to listen to a federal court, we’re not going to allow state officials go into federal court to defend the law," Treat said.

Treat, however, said he shares the goal of SB13 supporters. Several other bills to effectively ban abortion will be considered.

"There’s a brainwave and heartbeat bill. There’s the medical licensure bill. There’s a wrongful death bill. There’s a personhood bill. So, we have a lot of vehicles out there. I’m absolutely committed to protecting unborn life. I don’t believe Senate Bill 13 gets us there," Treat said.

Senate Bill 1859 is slated for a committee hearing Monday afternoon. It would make doctors performing an abortion check for a fetal heartbeat and brainwaves starting at six weeks. If an abortion were performed after either were detected, a doctor would lose their license.

The Oklahoma House has already passed a bill to revoke the licenses of doctors who perform abortions. It has not yet been scheduled for a Senate committee hearing.