Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Signs Bill Banning Nearly All Abortions

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill into law Wednesday that bans nearly all abortions in the state and allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” a woman seeking an abortion.

According to HB4327, abortions are prohibited in Oklahoma unless it is “necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency,” or the pregnancy “is the result of rape, sexual assault, or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.”

The new law, which took effect immediately, is modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act (SB 8), and provides its enforcement is “exclusively through the private civil actions” of citizens:

No direct or indirect enforcement of this act may be taken or threatened by the state, a political subdivision, a district attorney, or an executive or administrative officer or employee of this state or a political subdivision against any person or entity, in any manner whatsoever, except as provided in Section 5 of this act, and no violation of this act may be used to justify or trigger the enforcement of any other law or any type of adverse consequence under any other law.

According to the law, any private citizen can bring a civil action against any person who “performs or induces an abortion,” or “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise.”

The law also provides that the woman seeking an abortion cannot be sued.

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise today,” Stitt said Wednesday, adding:

From the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother. That is what I believe and that is what the majority of Oklahomans believe. If other states want to pass different laws, that is their right, but in Oklahoma we will always stand up for life.

The law defines an “unborn child” as “a human fetus or embryo in any stage of gestation from fertilization until birth,” and a “woman” as “any person whose biological sex is female, including any person with XX chromosomes and any person with a uterus, regardless of any gender identity that the person attempts to assert or claim.”

Spokespersons for Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics said they would stop terminating pregnancies, The Oklahoman reported.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains claimed the law is “forcing” women to remain pregnant, and tweeted it plans to bring a lawsuit against the state.

“Oklahoma is now the only state in the United States to successfully outlaw abortion while Roe v. Wade still stands,” the abortion vendor said in a statement. “A coalition of Oklahoma abortion providers and a reproductive justice organization will imminently file a challenge to the ban and seek to block it in court.”

Vice President Kamala Harris referred to the new law as “absolutely shameful.”

“The cruelty of this law and this crisis cannot be overstated,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson echoed. “At a time when communities are facing senseless tragedies and immeasurable grief, politicians have opted to use their position and power to instill more fear — all while taking away people’s right to decide what is best for their own bodies, lives, and futures at every turn.”

Live Action President Lila Rose, however, praised the new Oklahoma law and celebrated that “every abortion facility in the great state of Oklahoma will be shut down.”

“Thousands of children’s lives will be saved,” Rose added. “The pro-life movement is just getting started!”

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Kevin Stitt” by Kevin Stitt. 

 

 

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