Oklahoma is well on its way to banning all but some abortions beginning at fertilization now that its legislature has passed a bill that, when signed, will be the strictest abortion regulation in the nation.
However, the legislation still has exceptions for rape and incest.
HB 4327 was passed in the state House on Thursday in a vote of 73-16 and now heads to Republican Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk.
Stitt has vowed to make Oklahoma the most anti-abortion state in the nation. The bill would go into immediate effect when he signs it.
The New York Times noted that the legislation allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or those who “aid and abet” abortion, and is modeled after Texas’ so-called Heartbeat Act, which relies on the same enforcement mechanism which has allowed it to become the first legislation since Roe v. Wade to successfully restrict abortion beginning when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The heartbeat law has driven abortion-seeking mothers across state lines into neighboring Oklahoma, driving the state’s abortion rates up by 80% as we have previously reported, so the legislation could not be more timely.
“I represent 4 million Oklahomans; I don’t know how much clearer we can be,” Stitt recently told Fox News’ Shannon Bream of his commitment to ending abortion, as Live Action Network reported.
“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.”
When asked about previous anti-abortion legislation which do not have exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, Stitt expressed compassion for women who may find themselves in this position, but explained that babies who are conceived this way are still human.
“Well, first off, super compassionate about that. I have daughters; cannot even imagine what that would be like, and that hardship,” he explained.
“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,” he continued.
“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.”
This legislation comes as the nation is still reeling from the news that the Supreme Court is likely poised to overturn Roe v Wade as it decides on a challenge to a Mississippi law which restricted abortions after 15 weeks.
Earlier this year, Stitt signed a bill which makes abortion a felony in Oklahoma, but it would not go into effect until next year.
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