Oklahoma lawmakers have passed another pro-life bill, this time protecting human beings from the moment of fertilization.
HB 4327 is again modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act, in that it uses private enforcement through civil lawsuits, rather than criminal enforcement. Anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion, as well as the abortionist himself, could be sued for up to $10,000, with the women who get the actual abortion itself exempted. Abortion in the case of rape or incest is permitted by this bill, so long as the crime is reported to police. It also contains a “life of the mother” exception when in reality, intentionally killing a child in the womb is never necessary to save a mother’s life.
HB 4327, which was introduced by Wendi Stearman and Julie Daniels, passed Thursday in a 73-16 vote. The bill now heads to Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for a signature. Gov. Stitt recently spoke about his pro-life beliefs in an interview with Shannon Bream.
“I represent 4 million Oklahomans; I don’t know how much clearer we can be,” he said. “We believe life begins at conception, and we’re going to protect life in Oklahoma. There are 5,000 — just in Oklahoma alone — 5,000 unborn children that were killed last year, and we don’t believe [in] that in Oklahoma. Other states can do things differently, but we’re going to stand for life in the state of Oklahoma.”
"We're going to stand for LIFE in the state of Oklahoma."@GovStitt joins @ShannonBream to discuss Oklahoma's latest efforts to protect both babies and moms from abortion:#ModernizeOurLaw pic.twitter.com/eNehuOFbgf
— Susan B. Anthony List #ModernizeOurLaw (@SBAList) May 16, 2022
Bream pointed out that other pro-life laws recently passed in Oklahoma did not contain exceptions for rape or incest, and asked Stitt how he would respond to a woman in that scenario.
“Well, first off, super compassionate about that. I have daughters; cannot even imagine what that would be like, and that hardship,” he responded. “But you have to choose — that is a human being inside the womb, and we’re going to do everything we can to protect life, and love both the mother and the child. We don’t think that killing one to protect another is the right thing to do, either. Our heart is super compassionate about that; we want the churches, all the services, the state, the non-profits, to come around with adoption services. That’s super, super hard, and we’re going to do everything we can to help them, but aborting that child, we don’t think is the right thing to do.”
Earlier this month, Oklahoma passed its own version of heartbeat legislation, banning abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, with the exception of medical emergencies. That bill, SB 1503, was signed into law by Stitt.
HB 4327 contains an emergency clause, so if Stitt signs it into law, it will take effect immediately, making Oklahoma the only state in the U.S. to essentially protect all preborn children.
Editor’s Note, 5/20/22: This article has been edited for clarity since its original publication.
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