Oklahoma lawmakers approved a sweeping pro-life bill, 73-16, on May 19. Now that it has been signed into law, the legislation bans abortion from the moment of fertilization, except if necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.
Like the six-week abortion ban in Texas, Oklahoma’s law is enforced by citizens. The measure allows citizens to sue abortionists and anyone who “aids or abets” a woman seeking an abortion for up to $10,000 per abortion procedure. The mother, however, cannot be sued.
“There is no higher principle than the protection of innocent life,” Oklahoma State Rep. Jim Olsen (R) said during the May 19 House floor debate. “Innocent, unborn life. There can be no higher cause that we as a body can address.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), who has previously said he wants Oklahoma to be the “most pro-life state in the country,” signed the bill on May 25, making it the nation’s strictest abortion law to date.
This legislation, coupled with the recent Supreme Court leak signaling the fall of Roe v. Wade, has drawn much ire from pro-abortion advocates, and has even prompted an official statement from the White House.
“The President believes that women have the fundamental right to make their own reproductive health choices,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
“Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned. [This] action by the Oklahoma legislature is the most extreme effort to undo these fundamental rights we have seen to date. “
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser disagreed, praising the legislature for its strong pro-life stance.
“Oklahomans are sending a strong message that all unborn children and their mothers in the Sooner State deserve urgent protection from the brutality of abortion,” she said in a press release. “Science shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that unborn babies are human beings, with beating hearts by six weeks and the ability to feel pain by 15 weeks. Oklahoma’s strong pro-life protections could save as many as 3,800 lives a year. In contrast to the Biden-Harris administration that gives abortionists a platform to push a radical agenda, Governor Stitt and the legislature are standing up for the will of the people who overwhelmingly want to protect their most vulnerable citizens.”
Article update May 26, 11:50 a.m.