The governor of Oklahoma signs legislation banning fertilized abortion

Oklahoma banned nearly all abortions after Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed legislation banning the procedure from conception and empowering individuals to sue people who help women terminate their pregnancies.

Stitt signed the law on Wednesday evening, which immediately bans abortions from the moment of fertilization. The governor’s signature follows a spate of legislation passed in Republican-run states in recent years to limit abortion in hopes of successfully challenging a longstanding precedent.

Oklahoma is now the first state to ban abortion since the landmark but endangered 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. calf Verdict. Stitt said he was carrying out the will of his constituents because reproductive rights advocates reacted with horror.

“What is happening in Oklahoma, Texas and across the country is a cruel assault on our individual liberties and bodily autonomy,” the ACLU said in a tweet. “Abortion is essential. Abortion is health care. We all deserve access to it – no matter what politicians say.”

Governor Kevin Stitt
Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law the country’s toughest abortion law. Above, Stitt speaks during a roundtable discussion in the State Dining Room of the White House on June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Bill 4327 includes exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest that have been reported to law enforcement. It also allows abortions to save the mother’s life, ectopic pregnancies and the removal of a dead unborn child. Additionally, the bill does not prohibit the use of emergency contraception like Plan B.

“We believe life begins at conception, and we will protect life in Oklahoma,” Stitt said during a Fox News Sunday appearance earlier this month. “You know, there were 5,000 unborn children killed last year in Oklahoma alone. …Other states might do things differently, but we will save it for life in the state of Oklahoma.”

The legislation means Oklahoma’s five abortion providers can no longer operate, said Elizabeth Nash, a state reproductive health policy researcher at the Gutmacher Institute wrote on Twitter. She said that in 2017, 4,780 abortions were performed in the state. Right now there are 890,000 women between the ages of 15 and 49, she said.

Nash said after Texas banned abortion after six weeks in September, patients began traveling to nearby Oklahoma and east and west coast states for the procedure. Oklahoma’s new law means “restricted access and delayed access to care everywhere and for all,” Nash said.

“Oklahoma and Texas are the tip of the iceberg,” Nash said. “We estimate that 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion if abortion rights are lifted. And the Supreme Court is ready to overturn this #RoeVWade in the next weeks.”

Earlier this month, a leaked Supreme Court advisory showed the court was poised to strike down roe, leaving states free to pass laws restricting abortion. Many Republican-run states have enacted restrictions as the court has become more conservative in recent years.

Similar to Texas’ new abortion law, Oklahoma will rely on private individuals to enforce the new restrictions. Oklahoma law allows citizens to sue people who assist women with abortions and award them up to $10,000 in court. The new law does not allow women to sue themselves for abortions.

news week Stitt asked for comment. The governor of Oklahoma signs legislation banning fertilized abortion

Rick Schindler

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