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Oklahoma House passes fetal pain anti-abortion bill

The Oklahoma House has approved a measure barring abortions on fetuses more than 20 weeks after conception.
By The Associated Press Published: March 9, 2011
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The Oklahoma House has approved a measure barring abortions on fetuses more than 20 weeks after conception.

The measure passed on a 94-2 vote Wednesday without debate and now goes to the Senate. It says 20 weeks is the stage by which a fetus can feel pain.

Its author, Rep. Pam Peterson of Tulsa, says research indicates pain receptors exist in a fetus that is 16 weeks old, and nerves linking the receptors to the brain exist by 20 weeks.

The bill exempts pregnant women whose life or health is threatened. The measure makes it a felony to perform an abortion in violation of the act.

Opponents have said the bill would force a woman to carry a fetus with a lethal defect that will kill it shortly after birth.