The Oklahoma House of Representatives [official website] passed HB 1549, known as the the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2017 [text, PDF], on Tuesday, which would prohibit abortions because of Down’s Syndrome or genetic abnormalities of the child. According to the legislation, any doctor who knowingly violates the law would be liable for damages and risk losing his or her medical license. The bill also places fines of $10,000 on any person who attempts an abortion in violation of the law. The bill passed [KFOR-TV report] with a vote of 67 to 16 and will be sent to the Oklahoma Senate for approval.
Abortion restrictions remain a much contested issue in the US. The Texas Senate approved bills this week that would prevent [JURIST report] doctors from encouraging abortions to avoid lawsuits from birth defects and to require doctors to ensure a fetus is deceased before performing certain procedures. In February the Pennsylvania Senate approved [JURIST report] a bill that would ban abortions past 20 weeks. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law in January banning the dilation and evacuation abortion method [JURIST report]. In October a federal judge blocked a Mississippi law that disqualified [JURIST report] Medicaid benefits for non-therapeutic abortions. Also in October the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that a state law adding new licensing and inspection rules for facilities that perform abortions is unconstitutional.