Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill Making Almost All Abortions Illegal

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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (right) signed into law a bill on Tuesday that makes abortion a crime.

Driving the news: The law prohibits all abortions unless they are necessary to save the life of a pregnant person. A person convicted of performing an abortion faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

  • Oklahoma’s SB 612 makes no exception for rape or incest and is expected to go into effect this summer.
  • The person who has an abortion would not be criminally liable.

Catch up fast: The bill’s passage last week was unexpected, as the Oklahoma State House approved it a year after it was introduced and approved by the state Senate.

Be smart: The bill’s signing comes as state lawmakers consider another near-total abortion ban modeled on Texas’ law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy.

  • This bill, HB 4327, would encourage private citizens to sue anyone suspected of helping someone get an abortion for a reward of at least $10,000.
  • If enacted, the bill will come into effect immediately.

What they say : “I promised the people of Oklahom that I would sign every pro-life bill that came across my desk, and that’s what we’re doing here today,” Stitt said at an event. Tuesday morning, joined by several anti-abortion groups.

  • “We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the nation. We want to ban abortion in the state of Oklahoma.”
  • Stitt acknowledged the likely legal challenges ahead. Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said he looks forward to “defending this law.”

“Oklahoma’s Total Abortion Ban is blatantly unconstitutional and will wreak havoc on the lives of people seeking abortion care in and out of state,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. , an abortion rights advocacy group.

Between the lines: Oklahoma abortion providers have seen an increase in the number of Texas patients seeking abortion care.

  • The state’s Planned Parenthood Clinics reported a 2,500% increase in the number of Texas patients over the previous year in the first four months of the state’s six-week ban.
  • Stitt said this bill will “deal with” Texans crossing state lines to get abortion care, adding, “We definitely don’t want Texans coming to Oklahoma.”

Zoom out: The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could challenge the future of Roe v. Wade – who established the right to abortion.

  • A decision on the case is expected in June.

What we are looking at: The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood will challenge the law.

  • “We have sued the State of Oklahoma ten times over the past decade to protect access to abortion and we will also challenge this law to prevent this travesty from taking effect,” Northup said.

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