OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – One of the strongest anti-abortion bills in the country has been signed into law in Oklahoma.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 612 into law.
The measure makes it a felony for doctors to perform abortions. If they performed an abortion, they could face up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Stitt says there is an exception if the mother’s life is in danger.
“I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hit my desk and that’s what we’re doing here today,” said Stitt.
Senate Bill 612 was approved by more than 80% of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate.
“We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” he said.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor says he believes that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. He says he also looks forward to defending this measure on a grand stage.
“The most important thing is to take a stand and protect the unborn and protect life in the state of Oklahoma. We believe every life is precious. As a father of six, those are my core beliefs. And I’m elected by all 4 million Oklahomans to represent them and to put our beliefs into law,” he said.
State leaders say that even though this bill essentially bans abortion in Oklahoma, they will continue to push other anti-abortion legislation to the governor’s desk.
The measure goes into effect in August of 2022.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to stop Texas from nullifying the constitutional right to abortion has emboldened other states to do the same. Oklahoma’s total abortion ban is blatantly unconstitutional and will wreak havoc on the lives of people seeking abortion care within and outside the state. With the Texas six-week ban in place, many people are traveling to Oklahoma to get care. We’ve sued the state of Oklahoma ten times in the last decade to protect abortion access and we will challenge this law as well to stop this travesty from ever taking effect.”Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights
“The only person who should have the power to decide whether you need an abortion is you — no matter where you live, or how much money you make. Today’s signing is a reminder of the immediate threat to our community’s health and reproductive freedom, serving as a placeholder to a rapidly approaching future without access to safe and legal abortion. And it is no surprise the Governor would dismiss the local advocates who continue to challenge bills like S.B. 612; he has been dismissing Oklahomans for years with his harmful policies on health care, criminal justice reform, and economic growth. What politicians have done today is create a state where anybody who can become pregnant is forced to carry out a pregnancy against their will. We must continue to fight in the courts, in our state legislature, in the streets, and at the ballot box to guarantee all people have access to the health care they need.”Tamya Cox-Toure, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma
“Oklahoma has enacted some of the nation’s strongest protections for unborn children and their mothers, which could save as many as 3,800 lives a year. Science shows us unborn babies are human beings, with beating hearts by six weeks. We commend Governor Stitt for his courageous leadership, the state legislature for their overwhelming support, and all our local allies for fighting tirelessly for the will of Oklahomans.”Susan B Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser
“It’s a very dark day in Oklahoma. We have been in the middle of a crisis for the last seven months — as Texans have been forced to leave their home states for care — and now Oklahomans may have to do the same. It’s unconscionable. But know this: the law signed today is not yet in effect, and abortion remains legal in Oklahoma. We will fight back against these cruel bans in court because people shouldn’t have to cross state lines in secret to access care that should be available in their communities. Planned Parenthood has served Oklahomans for decades and will continue to do just that. While we have a long fight ahead of us, our doors will stay open, and we are here to provide care with dignity.”Emily Wales, interim president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes
“Today, Governor Stitt, flanked by legislative Republicans, signed what must be close to Oklahoma’s 100th ban on abortion. Like the others, this attempt will be challenged in court at the expense of Oklahoma taxpayers, and like the others, it will be ruled unconstitutional.
I agree with Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, Governor Stitt’s appointee, who said in his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing, Roe v. Wade is ‘settled law, super precedent’ and ‘binding decisions of the Supreme Court are to be followed by all lower courts.’ O’Connor even went as far as to say that if confirmed, he would ‘faithfully apply Roe and all other such precedents.’
Most important, however, is that this law and many others pushed by legislative Republicans are detrimental to the health of Oklahomans. Regardless of what Oklahoma and the US Supreme Court decide to do, abortion will remain legal in other states, and those who can afford to travel to those states to access healthcare will do just that. Reproductive health in Oklahoma will become yet another area where those with means will have access, and those who’ve been left behind by their government will suffer the consequences of these unconstitutional policies.”House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman
“Today, the country’s most restrictive legislation regulating access to reproductive health care was signed into law in Oklahoma. This law makes providing an abortion illegal in the state of Oklahoma, with only a narrow exception for medical emergencies and no exception for rape or incest.
This unconstitutional attack on women’s rights is just the latest and one of the most extreme state laws signed into law to date. Protecting the right recognized in Roe v. Wade continues to be a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration, and we call on Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would shut down these attacks and codify this long-recognized, constitutional right. 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.”White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki