Oklahoma is now the state with probably the most restrictive abortion laws within the nation after Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a complete abortion ban on Wednesday.
“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I’d signal each piece of pro-life laws that got here throughout my desk and I’m proud to maintain that promise right this moment,” Stitt mentioned in an announcement.
The invoice, H.B. 4327, bans abortion at fertilization and has the identical enforcement mechanism as Texas’ six-week abortion ban that went into impact final fall. The legislation defines an unborn youngster as “a human fetus or embryo in any stage of gestation from fertilization till delivery” and went into impact instantly after signing.
The enforcement mechanism deputizes any personal citizen — even when they’re not in Oklahoma — to implement the legislation by providing a bounty to anybody who efficiently sues somebody aiding or abetting an individual looking for an abortion. The Texas-style enforcement mechanism ensures that the Oklahoma ban will doubtless efficiently skirt any future court docket challenges, or no less than keep in place till the Supreme Court docket can overturn Roe v. Wade within the coming weeks.
The legislation has exceptions when the pregnant individual’s life is in danger, and in instances of rape or incest. The 2 latter exceptions can solely be used if these crimes are reported to police, and each crimes are extensively underreported.
“At the moment’s information from the Oklahoma legislature comes amidst a slew of anti-abortion bans and restrictions throughout the nation. However this isn’t yet one more ban, it’s not one other ban ― it is a first,” Emily Wales, president and CEO of Deliberate Parenthood Nice Plains, mentioned on a press name when the ban handed by the state legislature earlier this month.
“At the moment’s ban, which inspires bounty hunters to sue their neighbors or strangers for accessing abortion care at any stage of being pregnant, is a reversal of historical past occurring in entrance of our eyes,” Wales mentioned. “As soon as signed, abortion shall be unlawful in Oklahoma ― full cease.”
Professional-choice advocates have argued that bans that prohibit abortion at fertilization would feasibly additionally ban contraception and the so-called morning-after tablet. The Oklahoma ban clarifies that it doesn’t apply to contraceptives, together with emergency contraception tablets like Plan B.
Oklahoma’s state legislature labored extra time this session to introduce and go a slew of utmost and redundant anti-abortion legal guidelines. Earlier this month, Stitt signed the “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act” into legislation, which bans abortion at round six weeks and likewise makes use of the Texas-style enforcement mechanism. There aren’t any exceptions for rape or incest, and the legislation went into impact instantly after the governor signed it.
Lawmakers within the Sooner State additionally handed an unconstitutional invoice that makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in jail. Stitt lately signed the invoice into legislation, and it goes into impact in August.
“There’s actually no rhyme or cause [for the redundancy of these bills] aside from a radical try to simply confuse individuals, create chaos and wreak as a lot havoc as they’ll presumably do on people who find themselves looking for abortion and the suppliers who present it,” mentioned Rabia Muqaddam, senior authorized counsel on the Heart for Reproductive Rights.
It may already be extraordinarily harmful to hold a being pregnant to time period in Oklahoma. The state has one of many highest maternal mortality charges for Black individuals in your entire nation.
Abortion suppliers and pro-choice lawmakers spoke to HuffPost earlier this month about how extreme restrictions in Oklahoma will devastate abortion entry within the area. Since a six-week abortion ban went into impact in September, Texans have been touring in droves to Oklahoma to obtain abortion care. Now, Texans and Oklahomans will doubtless journey to Kansas if they’ve the assets, however Kansas solely has 4 abortion clinics left.
It’s unlikely these 4 clinics will be capable of accommodate sufferers from Texas and Oklahoma, in addition to Kansans themselves. New Mexico and Colorado will most likely additionally see an inflow of sufferers, however solely those that have the assets to journey longer distances.
“What makes it totally different now’s that we don’t have the backstop of the US Supreme Court docket upholding precedent,” Oklahoma Home Minority Chief Emily Virgin (D) advised HuffPost earlier this month, referring to the 6-3 conservative majority on the excessive court docket and the upcoming resolution anticipated to overturn or intestine Roe v. Wade.
The Supreme Court docket draft opinion that leaked earlier this month revealed the conservative majority court docket is poised to overturn Roe in only a few weeks. The information despatched pro-choice teams scrambling to protect federal abortion protections, whereas many abortion opponents took a victory lap. If Roe is overturned, 26 states will instantly ban or severely prohibit abortion.
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