Claiming that Oklahoma is attempting to deny women “their constitutionally protected right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy before viability,” several pro-abortion groups in the state filed a lawsuit to attempt to stop a host of new pro-life laws set to become effective Nov. 1.
The state, which many expect to be an abortion destination for Texas women after the Supreme Court upheld the state’s Heartbeat Act, is routinely ranked as a top pro-life state, ranking number three for 2021 on the Americans United for Life “Life List.” Oklahoma is already recognized by AUL for having a 20-week abortion ban, an enforceable law that would prohibit abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, a 72-hour waiting period for abortions, and other strong pro-life laws and initiatives. Now, effective Nov. 1, Governor Kevin Stitt has signed new laws that will go into effect, which critics claim will make abortion next to impossible.
As summarized by the Oklahoman, these five new laws are some of the most powerful yet. From the story:
House Bill 1102 that says medical professionals who perform an abortion not necessary to save a mother’s life or “prevent substantial or irreversible physical impairment” are engaging in “unprofessional conduct” and shall have their medical license suspended for at least one year
House Bill 2441 that prohibits an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant
House Bill 1904, which says abortions can only be performed by physicians who are board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Critics say this will severely limit the number of medical professionals that can perform abortions.
Rabia Muqaddam, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Oklahoman that abortion would become “nearly inaccessible” if the five laws are allowed to take effect, adding that the new laws are a “real acceleration” of the Legislature’s attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade.
The Oklahoman notes that the behind the lawsuit are The Center for Reproductive Rights, multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates, the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic, among others. The suit names Republican Attorney General John O’Connor, Health Commissioner Lance Frye, as well as both the district attorneys for Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. It also includes state health professionals who oversee medical licenses and pharmacy regulations.
“Oklahoma’s purpose is to deprive people in Oklahoma of their constitutionally protected right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy before viability,” the lawsuit says.
Meanwhile, the state’s pro-life governor has been making good on his initial campaign promise: “I will continue to keep my promise and sign every piece of pro-life legislation that hits my desk,” Stitt has said repeatedly. He has appeared to fulfill this promise, much to the joy of pro-lifers — and much to the distress of those who support the legalized killing of preborn human beings.
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