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Hours after Gov. Kevin Stitt, R-Okla., signed a new law banning abortion from the moment of conception, the Center for Reproductive Rights announced that he and Planned Parenthood would file a lawsuit over block the law after it takes effect on Stitt’s signature on Wednesday.
The law, HB 4327, prohibits all abortions after the moment of conception except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. The bill prohibits any procedure that “causes the death of an unborn child,” which it defines as “a human fetus or embryo at any stage of gestation, from fertilization to birth.” The law follows groundbreaking Texas law by allowing non-governmental actors to bring civil lawsuits against people who perform or aid and abet abortions, and damages for breach of law will be set at a minimum of $10,000. $ per abortion.
“I promised the people of Oklahom that as governor I would sign every pro-life bill that came across my desk and I’m proud to deliver on that promise today,” Stitt said during of the signing of the bill.
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“From the moment life begins at conception, we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect this baby’s life and the life of the mother,” the governor added. “That’s what I believe and that’s what the majority of Oklahomans believe. If other states want to pass different laws, that’s their right, but in Oklahoma we will always stand up for life.”
Oklahoma became the only state in the United States to successfully ban abortion as Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade (1973) is still relevant. (Although a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion would overrule Roe, that draft was written in February and does not constitute the court’s formal decision in the case.)
“For anyone seeking an abortion in Oklahoma and beyond: Planned Parenthood and our partners are fighting for you,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement on the signing of the bill and its next challenge. “We will do everything we can to make sure you can get the care you need and challenge any bans enacted in Oklahoma.”
Two abortion providers from Planned Parenthood, along with two other abortion providers and the group Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, had previously filed a lawsuit challenging SB 1503, a law that bans abortions after the detection of a heart activity in the embryo, about six weeks. . This law also allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman to have an abortion.
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“The plaintiffs will seek their recusal for HB 4327 to be added to the plaintiffs’ existing file against SB 1503which is currently pending in the Oklahoma Supreme Court,” the Center for Reproductive Justice (emphasis in original) announced Wednesday. Although federal challenges to the Texas law failed to block the abortion ban, the center asserted “there is significant precedent in the state of Oklahoma.” court to support the plaintiffs’ arguments for redress. »
“We are seeing the start of a domino effect that will ripple across the South and Midwest if deer falls,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, warned in a statement Wednesday. “Banning abortion after six weeks wasn’t extreme enough for Oklahoma lawmakers. The goal of the anti-abortion movement is to ensure that no one can have access to abortion at any time and for any reason.”
“Right now, patients in Oklahoma are in a state of chaos and fear,” Northup added. “This chaos will only escalate as surrounding states also cut off access. We will not stop fighting for the people of Oklahoma and for everyone across the country. We all deserve the freedom to control our own bodies and lives.”
Tamya Cox-Touré, co-chair of the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, claimed the abortion ban amounted to “systemic discrimination”.
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“At the end of the day, who will be barred from having an abortion under this ban? People who don’t have the funds or resources to travel out of state,” Cox-Touré said. “Abortion bans are systemic workplace discrimination. We won’t stop fighting for Oklahomans, especially those who face often insurmountable barriers to abortion access: black people, people of color , people who live in rural areas and people who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Stitt also signed into law April 12 SB 612, which would criminalize the abortion procedure, making it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood challenged SB 612 the same way they challenged SB 1503, asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to block the bill before it can go into effect. if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe.
Pro-life activists celebrated the signing of the bill.
Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, praised Stitt for “signing one of the strongest pro-life bills in the country. Starting tomorrow, every abortion center in the great state of Oklahoma will be closed Thousands of children’s lives will be saved The pro-life movement is just beginning!
While states with Republican legislatures passed laws restricting abortion, states with Democratic legislatures passed laws codifying abortion in the event Roe was overthrown. Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colo., signed a law creating a “fundamental right” to abortion and denying any right to the unborn child. In 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo, DN.Y., signed legislation codifying abortion rights and explicitly removing protections for unborn children.
The Connecticut Legislature has passed a bill aimed at combating abortion restrictions in other states.
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Although numerous polls suggest that Americans support Roe, in-depth polls reveal a more complicated picture. Asked about their opinion on abortion during specific periods of pregnancy and other situations, 71% of Americans say they support limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy (22%), or in other limited circumstances such as rape and incest (28%), to save the life of the mother (9% ) or not at all (12%) . Only 17% of Americans said abortion should be available throughout an entire pregnancy, and 12% said it should be limited to the first six months.
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