State representative wants any Oklahoman to be able to sue abortion providers

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Following Texas’ recent 6-week abortion ban, one Oklahoma representative says a similar law needs to be passed in the Sooner State.

“It’s a vigilante type of legislation,” said Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater.

“The idea that someone could use it in a very revengeful way and retaliatory way against providers should be alarming to all medical professionals in Oklahoma,” said Tamya Cox-Touré, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.

Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, announced Friday that he plans to file legislation that would allow any individual in Oklahoma to sue doctors who perform an abortion after conception.

They could also sue anyone who helped the patient get the procedure. If the plaintiff wins in civil court, they could receive up to $10,000.

“To actually ban abortion at conception is absolutely ridiculous,” said Cox-Touré. “This bill would actually go further than the bill in Texas. Texas’ bill allowed for abortions up to six weeks. This bill would allow abortion ban at conception. Conception is not a medical term. Conception is a term of art.”

The legislation is similar to a portion of Texas’ Senate Bill 8, which went into effect on Sep. 1.

“Representative Roberts is trying to punish the women seeking care and seeking the need for an abortion,” said Ranson. “He believes we have women or individuals from Texas coming to Oklahoma to seek an abortion.”

Roberts also posted statistics from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, showing an uptick in Texas women coming into Oklahoma to get an abortion.

“All individuals need to be able to seek medical care where they live. Having to be able to drive somewhere for an issue like this is just fraught with issues,” said Ranson.

“People become ashamed of the decisions that they’re making, which is something we don’t want,” said Cox-Touré.

“The pro-life citizens of Oklahoma should have the ability to help hold these doctors accountable,” Roberts said. “Individual citizens are an extremely important part of making sure that we are protecting the lives of the unborn. This legislation puts principle into action and I am going to fight extremely hard to get it passed during the upcoming session.”

Roberts says plaintiffs would be able to seek up to $10,000 in damages in a civil court against abortion providers as well as anyone who “aids and abets” an illegal abortion.

Roberts also shared data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) that shows the number of Texas residents seeking abortions in Oklahoma has increased since the Texas law went into effect.

“When it comes to fighting for the lives of the unborn, we must be willing to do whatever it takes,” Roberts said. “This legislation is critical, and it must be passed this session to stem the tide of Texans seeking abortions in our state. No matter what, I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless and a champion for pro-life Oklahomans.”

The ACLU and Ranson both call this bill a waste of time and taxpayer money.

“Right now, we already have a law on the books that is a ‘trigger law.’ Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, then abortion would be outlawed in the State of Oklahoma,” Ransom said.

“Oklahomans will take alternative measures if they want to end their pregnancies,” said Cox-Touré.

KFOR tried to speak to Rep. Roberts, calling his office four times Friday. So far, no response.

Legislators have until Jan. 20 to formally introduce bills and joint resolutions for the upcoming session which begins on Feb. 7.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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