Oklahoma Republicans pass near-total ban on abortion in 'completely unexpected' vote
Activists supporting a woman's right to choose to have an abortion protested in March 2020 outside the US Supreme Court(AFP)

Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma have passed a near-total ban on abortion, outlawing it in all cases starting at the moment of conception, with just one exception for protecting the life of the mother. Anyone who performs an abortion in Oklahoma will have committed a felony, facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $100,000, if the governor signs it into law.

The Oklahoma Senate passed the legislation last year, so it will be sent to Republican Governor Kevin Stitt who will likely sign it into law.

"The vote was 70 to 14 after lawmakers added it to the agenda Monday night, catching some by surprise. There was little discussion or debate," The Washington Post's Caroline Kitchener reports.

Oklahoma has 101 lawmakers in the House, Republicans have an 82-14 supermajority over the Democrats.

After Texas instituted a vigilante anti-abortion law the greatest percentage of Texans leaving the state to obtain abortion services have traveled to Oklahoma.

The Post reports the vote was so secret abortion services providers didn't even know it took place the following day.

“Are you serious?” asked Andrea Gallegos, an administrator who works at Tulsa Women’s Clinic, one of the four abortion providers in the state. “Oh, my gosh.”

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