The Oklahoma Legislature gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that prohibits nearly all abortions starting at fertilization, which would make it the nation’s strictest abortion law.
The bill subjects abortion providers and anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion to civil suits from private individuals. It would take effect immediately if signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican who has pledged to make his state the most anti-abortion in the nation.
“There can be nothing higher or more critical than the defense of innocent, unborn life,” State Representative Jim Olsen, a Republican, said Thursday on the floor of the Oklahoma House, where the bill passed on a 73-16 vote.
The measure is modeled on a law that took effect in Texas in September, which has relied on civilian instead of criminal enforcement to work around court challenges. Because of that provision — the law explicitly says state authorities cannot bring charges — the U.S. Supreme Court and state courts have said they cannot block the ban from taking effect, even if it goes against the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade.
The Oklahoma ban goes further than the Texas law, which bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.
Supporters of abortion rights said the legislation in Oklahoma, and the ongoing rush to enact new restrictions in other Republican-led states, showed that a new legal reality had set in even before the official release of a Supreme Court opinion that many expect will overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This isn’t a fire drill,” said Emily Wales, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which has operations in Oklahoma. “This is not a rehearsal for what’s to come. We are living in this real world right now. The Supreme Court will finalize that this summer.”
It was done to get the jump on paperwork. They couldn't help themselves, they hate women that much.