Performing an abortion now a felony in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law, making performing an abortion a felony, punishable up to 10 years in prison.

This morning, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB 612 into law, making it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The only exception the bill allows for performing an abortion is to save the mother's life.

The bill will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns in May.1

“As Governor, I promised to sign every piece of pro-life legislation that hit my desk. Today I kept that promise by signing SB 612 into law, once again showing the world that Oklahoma is the most pro-life state in the country,” wrote Stitt in a tweet Tuesday morning.

The signing of this pro-life legislation into law comes amidst multiple Republication-majority states trying to reduce abortion rights. Currently, 529 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 41 states and 9 restrictions have been enacted in 5 states —Arizona (1), Idaho (1), Indiana (2), South Dakota (4), and Wyoming (1).2

Additionally, 82 abortion bans have been introduced in 30 states and 4 bans have been enacted —Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.2 Other types of bans are also trying to be introduced into state legislatures including bans after 15 weeks of pregnancy, “Texas-style” (bans that use bounty-hunter style enforcement), and “Trigger” (bans used to quickly prohibit abortion in the state).2

In a statement about the new law, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated, “The U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to stop Texas from nullifying the constitutional right to abortion has emboldened other states to do the same,”3

She added, “Oklahoma’s total abortion ban is blatantly unconstitutional and will wreak havoc on the lives of people seeking abortion care within and outside the state. With the Texas 6-week ban in place, many people are traveling to Oklahoma to get care. We’ve sued the state of Oklahoma 10 times in the last decade to protect abortion access and we will challenge this law as well to stop this travesty from ever taking effect.”

References

1. Bill information. Accessed April 12, 2022. http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=sb612&Session=2200

2. 2022 state legislative sessions: abortion bans and restrictions on medication abortion dominate. Guttmacher Institute. Published March 16, 2022. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/03/2022-state-legislative-sessions-abortion-bans-and-restrictions-medication-abortion

3. Oklahoma governor signs total abortion ban. Center for Reproductive Rights. Published April 12, 2022. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://reproductiverights.org/oklahoma-governor-signs-total-abortion-ban/