Oklahoma passes pro-life law banning abortion from conception

Oklahoma passes pro-life law banning abortion from conception

As pro-life lawmakers and governors continue to advance a raft of laws protecting the unborn in anticipation of the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a sweeping new measure banning nearly all abortions in the state.

Lawmakers in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives on Thursday voted to approve the new legislation, which will prohibit the killing of “a human fetus or embryo in any stage of gestation from fertilization until birth,” with narrow exceptions.

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, a pro-life Christian and father of six who has promised Oklahomans he would “sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk,” is expected to put his signature to the measure as early as next week.

The new bill, HB 4327, was modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act, which utilizes a unique enforcement mechanism empowering private citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers rather than relying on state prosecution. 

HB 4327 was authored by Collinsville Republican Rep. Wendi Stearman, and contains exceptions if an abortion is deemed necessary to save the life of the mother, or if the unborn child was conceived in rape or incest reported to law enforcement.

Many pro-life advocates argue that there is never a circumstance in which abortion is medically necessary. Exceptions for rape and incest have also been slammed by many pro-lifers, who point out that a baby’s humanity is not contingent upon the manner in which he was conceived.

Even with its carveouts, however, the new Oklahoma legislation will still provide massive protections for the unborn in the Sooner State.

Once signed, the law is expected to be the death-knell for the remaining abortion facilities in Oklahoma.

“Two of Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics already stopped providing abortions after the governor signed a six-week ban earlier this month, and an attorney for the two other independent clinics said Thursday they will no longer offer services once the bill is signed,” the AP reported Thursday.

HB 4327 is the latest pro-life measure to advance in the state’s Republican-led legislature, which has already passed roughly half a dozen new laws protecting the unborn this year. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Stitt signed a different bill also modeled after the Heartbeat Act, banning abortions after about six weeks gestation. In April, he signed a law which would make it a felony to kill an unborn baby though abortion, though that law will only take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion at the federal level.