This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 29, 2022:
The moment Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signs two bills into law — expected today — Oklahoma will be the first state effectively to ban all abortions in the state from the moment a heartbeat is detected onward to birth. Sooner State legislators aren’t waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, expected in June, to act.
The state’s Senate passed the “Oklahoma Heartbeat Act” — Senate Bill 1503 — on Thursday, which prohibits abortions any time after a heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.
The Senate also passed House Bill 4327 (after reconciliation) on Thursday, allowing private citizens to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers or anyone assisting an abortion. That includes not only the individual performing or attempting to perform an abortion, but also anyone who knowingly “aids and abets” an abortion. That would include anyone paying for the abortion, providing information leading to an abortion, or providing transportation to or from an abortion facility — in other words, anyone who assists in abortion in any way could be sued. If convicted, that individual would pay a fine of at least $10,000 plus other penalties and legal fees.
This mirrors the “Texas Heartbeat Act” — SB8 — that has effectively all but shut down abortions in the Lone Star State.
When combined with previous legislation that Governor Stitt has already signed making performing an abortion a felony (with a $100,000 fine and 10 years in jail), Oklahoma can now boast the most protection for the unborn of any state in the union.
While the previous bill that the governor signed making performing an abortion a felony won’t become effective until later this summer, the two bills on his desk become effective immediately upon signing.
This will effectively shut down the traffic abortion clinics have enjoyed from Texans fleeing that state in order to kill their unborn legally. Before the Texas ban, about 40 women from that state traveled to Oklahoma for abortions. That number jumped to over 240 in October — a 600-percent increase.
Once the bills are signed into law, those deciding to kill their unborn child will have to travel to states that still don’t consider abortion as murder, such as Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and Arkansas.
Abortion providers are suing to prevent implementation of the Oklahoma felony law and are threatening to sue over the two bills sitting on Stitt’s desk once he signs them. They can see what’s coming, as Nancy Northrup, president for the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, noted:
We are asking the state courts to uphold the State Constitution and apply Oklahoma precedent to block these insidious abortion bans before they take effect.
Oklahoma is a critical state for abortion access right now, with many Texans fleeing to Oklahoma for abortion care. These bans would further decimate abortion access across the South.
Abortion facilities in Oklahoma are already refusing to schedule abortions for next week in anticipation of Stitt’s signing those two bills into law shortly. Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, said that “we are hopeful that [these bills] will save the lives of more unborn children here in Oklahoma.”
Through these bills, Oklahomans are declaring that the sanctity of life must be protected. In a world where there are clearly efforts to destroy the foundations of the culture, it’s comforting to know that states such as Oklahoma — along withTexas, Idaho, and others — are defending those foundations.