Oklahoma legislature passes bill banning abortions after ‘fertilization’
Rebekah Riess, Jeremy Grisham and Devan Cole, CNN
(CNN) — Oklahoma’s legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would ban abortions from the moment of fertilization and allow private citizens to sue abortion providers who “knowingly” perform or induce an abortion “on a pregnant woman.”
The legislation is among the nation’s strictest bills on abortion. HB 4327 prohibits abortions at any point of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies or if the pregnancy was a result of rape, sexual assault or incest and reported to law enforcement.
The Oklahoma’s House of Representatives approved the measure by a vote of 73-16, and it now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has previously pledged to sign every piece of legislation limiting abortion that reaches his desk. CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.
This year alone, Stitt has signed into law two controversial abortion measures, including one that is modeled after a Texas abortion law that allows private citizens to take civil action against abortion providers to enforce the law. In April, the governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law that makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency.
Republican-led states have been pushing strict abortion measures in anticipation of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade next month in a case concerning a Mississippi abortion law. Earlier this month, a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito showed that the conservative-majority court was poised to overturn Roe, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Alexis McGill-Johnson, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement Thursday that, should Stitt sign the bill, “Oklahoma will be the first state in the country to completely outlaw abortion — even while Roe still stands.”
“What little abortion access is left in the state will be gone, and the crisis faced by Oklahoma patients and those that depend on access in the state will worsen,” she said, adding that the group would mount a legal challenge to the ban if it’s signed into law.