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Oklahoma, Montana governors sign laws to restrict access to abortions

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Oklahoma, Montana governors sign laws to restrict access to abortions
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday signed into law three bills aimed at restricting access to abortion including a controversial so-called fetal heart beat bill. Photo courtesy Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt/Twitter

April 27 (UPI) -- The Republican governors of Oklahoma and Montana signed into law bills to restrict access to abortion.

Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma signed three bills that go into effect Nov. 1 on Monday, including the state's version of the controversial so-called fetal heart beat ban that prevents healthcare professionals at the risk of facing homicide charges from performing an abortion after a heart beat is detectable.

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Stitt also signed a bill that prevents any physician aside from board certified obstetricians and gynecologists from performing abortions as well as one that revokes a doctor's license if they preform an abortion that is not determined medically necessary to either prevent the death of the mother or prevent her from suffering "substantial or irreversible physical impairment."

"I'm keeping my promise to sign all pro-life legislation," he said in a tweet. "We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn!"

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Days before Stitt signed the bills, Julie Burkhart, the chief executive of Trust Women, criticized the Oklahoma legislature for being focused on "unconstitutional legislation that will only be thrown out of the courts."

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"I would rather they spend their time on restoring access to healthcare to Oklahomans than wasting time on restricting the ability of people to get safe and quality healthcare," she said in a statement.

In Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte also signed into law three bills, including one that prevents the abortion of a fetus after 20 weeks of gestation.

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"Life is precious and ought to be protected," Gianforte said in a tweet Monday announcing he had signed the bills. "Today, I proudly signed into law bills to protect the life or our most vulnerable, the unborn."

Gianforte signed a second bill that requires those performing an abortion to offer the pregnant woman the opportunity to view an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heart tone of the fetus prior to having the procedure and a third that restricts access to abortion-inducing drugs.

The governor in his January state of the state had pressed the state's legislature to pass the measures, stating "[t]hese are necessary, compassionate measures where there should be common ground among us, and I will sign them into law."

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