On Thursday, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions starting at fertilization with few exceptions, according to The New York Times.
When will the bill go into effect? Two of the four abortion clinics in the state have already ceased operation due to a six-week abortion ban set in place by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt earlier this month.
- Once the bill is signed, the last clinics will stop offering services completely, per The Associated Press. The bill is likely to be signed early next week.
Exceptions: The only exceptions under this law, reported The Associated Press, would act to save the life of the pregnant woman, or if the pregnancy was a result of incest or rape, but only if the assault is reported to law enforcement. The bill does not apply to Plan B or any other contraception types.
Private citizen enforcement: This bill also makes Oklahoma one of three states that allows private citizens to enforce abortion laws, stated The Wall Street Journal.
- This will make it harder for abortion rights advocates to challenge the law in court. The other states allowing this practice are Idaho and Texas.
- This bill would even pose possible punishment to those out of state who assist Oklahoma women in getting abortions, per The New York Times.
- The bill will allow lawsuits to be filed against anyone who helps pay for an abortion, which could even apply to those who donate to organizations that assist women seeking the procedure, stated The New York Times.
- Stitt also signed another bill that will make performing an abortion a felony, which can result in up to 10 years in prison, according to Fox News. The bill would go into effect later this year.
The White House speaks out: Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gave a statement concerning the bill on Thursday night, stating that the president believes all women should have the right to make reproductive health choices.
- “Today’s action by the Oklahoma legislature is the most extreme effort to undo these fundamental rights we have seen to date,” said Jean-Pierre, according to Fox News. “In addition, it adopts Texas’ absurd plan to allow private citizens to sue their neighbors for providing reproductive health care and helping women to exercise their constitutional rights.”