Another day, another politician making choices about a woman’s body. Just a few weeks after the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion foreshadowing a possible overturn of Roe. v. Wade, one state is doubling down on their position on abortion rights. Today, Oklahoma legislature approved a bill that would ban abortions from the moment of fertilization.
The latest bill, HB 4327, would outlaw abortion at any point in one’s pregnancy, with some exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergencies. The bill also supports private citizens suing abortion providers who perform or induce an abortion.
If signed by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, the bill would go into effect immediately. This news comes just one month after Gov. Stitt signed Senate Bill 612 into law, which made performing an abortion punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine, per AP News.
“We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” Stitt said during the signing ceremony for Bill 612, per the AP. “I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”
Oklahoma is one of many Republican-led states seeking to reverse abortion rights in the US. At the end of March, Arizona banned abortions after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest. A new Texas law encourages private citizens to turn in people who have helped others access an abortion after six weeks, offering a $10,000 reward for each successful lawsuit brought forward. In fact, Texas prosecutors recently charged a woman with murder after an alleged “self-induced abortion,” although they eventually had to drop the charges.
If the latest Oklahoma bill is signed into law, it would become the nation’s strictest abortion law to date. While some people may still be able to go to neighboring states to access much-needed reproductive care, that’s not an option for many others who may not be able to take time off work, find child care, or afford to travel the often long distances required to find an available clinic. After Texas’s ban was passed, for example, abortion clinics in nearby states — including, at the time, Oklahoma — found themselves overwhelmed by the influx in patients, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
As we await the official Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson, it’s more important than ever to make your position on abortion rights known. Read more about how to take action against restrictive abortion bans here.
Image Source: Getty / Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times