Oklahoma anti-abortion bill signed into law expands doctors’ liability

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new anti-abortion bill signed into law in Oklahoma Thursday expands liability for doctors if they coerce their patient into getting the procedure.

The Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act was authored by State Sen. David Bullard. He said he wrote it after learning about instances of doctors receiving consent for abortions through fraudulent means.

“So if they do the abortion but the woman is coerced, if they lie to her about how far along she is or anything about the pregnancy, if they don’t warn her about the psychological or physical problems she may very likely have,” Sen. Bullard said.

It would also allow her parents, grandparents, or other third parties to file a lawsuit against the doctor.

Sen. Bullard said it protects women who are victims of what he calls a greedy industry.

“We’re referring to it as an industry for a reason,” he said. “They’re making a lot of money off of this.”

Tamya Cox-Toure, regional director of public policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said the law is unnecessary, and that doctors already thoroughly interview patients to make sure they’re not being pressured.

“If at any point a provider thought that this patient was being coerced, this was not a decision they were comfortable with, they would immediately stop and let that patient make the decision that is right for them,” Cox-Toure said.

She believes the law only shames and stigmatizes women who seek abortion care.

“Doctors are not intimidated by any means by these laws because they know that they are following every regulation,” Cox-Toure said, “whether it’s an unnecessary regulation that Oklahoma continues to pass, they are providing every regulation that is necessary to promote the best care for patients.”

She said Planned Parenthood Great Plains would consider challenging the law, but Sen. Bullard said he’s confident there’s already court precedent.

The law goes into effect November 1.

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