The Oklahoma legislature on Thursday passed the most expansive pro-life legislation in the country, outlawing abortion from the moment of fertilization. The bill, which Governor Kevin Stitt has promised to sign, makes exceptions for rape and incest, and it would not affect the availability of birth control or emergency contraception.
“I value life, and it should never be permitted by law to take the life of a child born or unborn,” State Representative Wendi Stearman, the bill’s co-author, said.
This comes just weeks after the Oklahoma legislature passed a heartbeat bill banning abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy and a law passed in April that makes performing abortions a felony.
This latest bill, House Bill 4327, is modeled after Texas’ abortion legislation, allowing private citizens to sue abortion practitioners for up to $10,000. It also clarifies that the term “abortion” does not apply to miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, and it makes exceptions for “a medical emergency” in which the life of the mother is threatened.
When Stitt signs it, it will go into effect immediately.
“We want it clear that we want to choose life in Oklahoma,” Stitt said last month. “We don’t want to allow abortions in the state of Oklahoma.”
As states across the United States prepare for a potential reversal of Roe v. Wade, some, like Michigan, are working to maintain abortion access, while others like Oklahoma are passing anti-abortion legislation, in preparation for a potentially historic turning point for the pro-life movement.