By Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate approved legislation Thursday to essentially prohibit abortions in Oklahoma after six weeks of pregnancy.

The Senate voted 36-8 for the bill, which now heads to the House for consideration.

The bill by Republican Sen. Paul Scott of Duncan would prohibit doctors from performing an abortion, beginning at six weeks of pregnancy, if a fetal heartbeat or brain waves are detected.

“Doctors take an oath to protect life, so this will also hold them accountable for that oath by taking away the licenses of any who violate this law,” Scott said in a statement.

But many women are unaware that they are pregnant at six weeks, said Tamya Cox-Toure, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes.

“The purpose of this bill is to deny access to a legally protected right to abortion,” Cox-Toure said.

Cox-Toure said there are also no exceptions in the bill for cases of rape, incest or potential harm to the mother.

Oklahoma currently prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

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