The Oklahoma House approved a pro-life heartbeat bill on Tuesday, securing a strong majority to pass the bill.
House Bill 2441, sponsored by Rep. Todd Russ (R), passed with a vote of 80-19 after a long debate.
If the bill is enforced, it would prohibit abortions when an unborn baby's heartbeat is detectable, which is around six weeks of pregnancy. The allowable exceptions would be if the mother's life is at risk or if a doctor certifies in writing that the pregnancy is "medically futile."
"This bill is about protecting the most vulnerable – the unborn child," said Russ earlier this year. "Hearing a heartbeat confirms what everyone already knows: These are living babies, not clumps of tissue that feel nothing. This is one among a series of measures designed to protect and save unborn lives."
Russ defended his bill during the debate against attacks because it does not allow unborn babies to be killed if their mothers are victims of rape or incest.
"In those situations where there is a horrible, horrible, heinous act of rape, taking the life of the baby does not help the emotional outcome of the mom. Generally, it makes it worse," said Russ.
The pro-life bill will now move on to the Oklahoma Senate. The American Civil Liberties Union said it plans to sue the state if the legislation passes.