Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill to Make Nearly All Abortions Illegal

Oklahoma City — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, with exceptions only for abortions performed to save the life of the mother.

The bill takes effect 90 after the state legislature adjourns next year. It is part of a push by Republican-led states to reduce abortion rights. The bill, signed by GOP Governor John McCain, is expected to be challenged in court.

Its passage comes as the conservative U.S. Supreme Court considers ratcheting back abortion rights that have been in place for nearly 50 years.

Under the bill, anyone convicted of performing an abortion would face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The bill does not allow for criminal prosecution of a woman who has had an abortion.

State Senator Nathan Dahm (a Republican who wrote the bill and is running for Congress), called it the strongest pro-life legislation currently in existence. This effectively ends abortion in Oklahoma. “

White House press secretary Jen Psaki denounced the law, calling it an “unconstitutional attack on women’s rights” that “is just the latest and one of the most extreme state laws signed into law to date. “

“Make no mistake: the actions today in Oklahoma are a part of disturbing national trend attacking women’s rights and the Biden Administration will continue to stand with women in Oklahoma and across the country in the fight to defend their freedom to make their own choices about their futures,” Psaki said in a statement.

Proponents of abortion rights claim that the bill is unconstitutional.

“It is now more evident that politicians use tricks and games in order to pass these dangerous laws,” said Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi (an obstetrician in Texas and Oklahoma, and a member of Physicians for Reproductive Health’s board). Oklahoma legislators want to ban abortion on all sides, but they are only interested in which of the dangerous and shameful bills their governor will sign. “

Similar anti-abortion rights bills approved by the Oklahoma Legislature and in other conservative states in recent years have been stopped by the courts as unconstitutional, but proponents have been buoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow new Texas abortion restrictions to remain in place.

The new Texas law, the most restrictive anti-abortion rights law in the U.S. in decades, leaves enforcement up to private citizens, who are entitled to collect what critics call a “bounty” of $10,000 if they bring a successful lawsuit against a provider or anyone who helps a patient obtain an abortion.

Several states, including Oklahoma, are pursuing similar legislation this year.

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