Oklahoma Law Makes It a Felony to Perform Abortion

Governor signs tough new law
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 6, 2022 12:01 AM CDT
Updated Apr 12, 2022 11:17 AM CDT
Oklahoma on Verge of Making Abortion Illegal
Abortion rights advocates gather outside the Oklahoma Capitol on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Oklahoma City, to protest several anti-abortion bills being considered by the GOP-led Legislature.   (AP Photo/Sean Murphy)

(Newser) Updated: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes it a felony to perform an abortion, part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to scale back abortion rights. The bill, which takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns next month, makes an exception only for an abortion performed to save the life of the mother, per the AP. Abortion rights advocates say the law is likely to face a legal challenge. State Sen. Nathan Dahm, a Republican running for Congress who wrote the bill, called it the “strongest pro-life legislation in the country right now, which effectively eliminates abortion in Oklahoma." Our original story from April 5 follows:

The Oklahoma House gave final legislative approval on Tuesday to a bill that would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the AP reports. With little discussion and no debate, the Republican-controlled House voted 70-14 to send the bill to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has previously said he'd sign any anti-abortion bill that comes to his desk. The bill is one of several anti-abortion measures still alive in Oklahoma’s Legislature this year, part of a trend of GOP-led states passing aggressive anti-abortion legislation as the conservative US Supreme Court is considering ratcheting back abortion rights that have been in place for nearly 50 years.

The Oklahoma bill, which passed the Senate last year, makes an exception only for an abortion performed to save the life of the mother, said GOP state Rep. Jim Olsen, of Roland, who sponsored the bill. Under the bill, a person convicted of performing an abortion would face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. “The penalties are for the doctor, not for the woman," Olsen said. Similar anti-abortion bills approved by the Oklahoma Legislature and in other conservative states in recent years have been stopped by the courts as unconstitutional, but anti-abortion lawmakers have been buoyed by the US Supreme Court's decision to allow new Texas abortion restrictions to remain in place.

(Read more Oklahoma stories.)

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