Oklahoma is the First State to Ban Abortions Starting at Conception, Others Should Follow Suit

Opinion   |   Liberty Counsel   |   May 28, 2022   |   9:57AM   |   Washington, DC

As America awaits the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law on Wednesday that makes Oklahoma the first state in the nation to effectively protect unborn children by prohibiting abortions from fertilization and allowing private citizens to sue those who help women terminate their pregnancies. The law, which passed the House 73-16 and the Senate 35-10, took effect immediately.

Governor Stitt approved HB 4327, which bans all abortions except when necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency; or if the pregnancy is the result of rape, sexual assault, or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.

The abortion ban is enforced through civil lawsuits rather than by state officials, allowing any private citizen to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets” an abortion for $10,000 in damages. HB 4327 does not allow people to sue the woman who actually has the abortion.

The legislation reads, “Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who: Performs or induces an abortion in violation of this act; Knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this act, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this act; or intends to engage in the conduct described by this act.”

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HB 4327 authorizes doctors to “remove a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion or remove an ectopic pregnancy.” The law also specifically defines a “woman” and “women” to “include any person whose biological sex is female, including any person with XX chromosomes and any person with a uterus, regardless of any gender identity that the person attempts to assert or claim.”

On April 12, Governor Stitt also signed SB 612 that bans all abortions except in the case of medical emergencies and makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. It authorizes charging the abortionist with penalties under the law and not the woman in the death of her own unborn child. The law does not allow exceptions for fetal diagnosis, rape, or incest.

The law, which passed the House 70-14 and the Senate 38-9, will take effect in August.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Abortion takes the life of an innocent human being and has enormous physical and psychological consequences on the mother. It’s time to stop committing human genocide in this nation and Oklahoma is leading the way to make the womb a safe place in America again.”