Oklahoma Gov Signs 3 Anti-Abortion Bills

Oklahoma Gov Signs 3 Anti-Abortion Bills kevin stit speaks with his hands clasped Governor Kevin Stitt, R-Okla., speaks during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Monday, 26 April 2021 07:20 PM

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, on Monday signed three bills into law restricting abortion in the state.

"I'm keeping my promise to sign all pro-life legislation," Stitt tweeted Monday along with photos of him signing the bills. "We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn! HB 2441, HB 1904, and HB 1102."

House Bill 2441 makes it illegal to perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, The Hill reports. In most pregnancies, that's at six weeks, before most women know they are pregnant.

A doctor who performs such an abortion can be found guilty of homicide, according to the law. It does, however, provide for an exception if done to save the mother's life or to "avert serious risk" of physical impairment, not "including psychological or emotional conditions," according to The Hill.

House Bill 1102 would put abortion under the state's statutes of "unprofessional conduction" for doctors unless it was needed to prevent death or other serious impairment to the mother.

House Bill 1101, meanwhile, requires doctors performing abortions to be certified in gynecology and obstetrics. Critics say the law will sharply cut the number of physicians able to perform abortions in the state.

All three bills are set to take effect Nov. 1, and are expected to be challenged in court on grounds they violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. Previous anti-abortion laws in the state have been overturned by the courts.

"We'll let the courts work out if any of those get overturned," the governor said.

The laws are designed to punish doctors who provide abortions, shame women and and block access to safe and legal abortions, Gloria Pedro, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes regional manager, told The Oklahoman newspaper.

"Politicians should not insert themselves into a person’s private medical decisions about pregnancy or between doctors and their patients," Pedro said.

Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women, called the laws "radical and unconstitutional measures." Her group runs an abortion clinic in Oklahoma City.

"He is wasting taxpayer money and violating Oklahoman’s privacy," Burkhart said. "The people of Oklahoma would be better served by government officials improving health care access for Oklahomans."

There were 4,424 abortions performed in Oklahoma in 2019, according the State Department of Health's most recent data.

Stitt also signed bills on Monday declaring Oklahoma a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, preventing the closing of churches during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic and making it harder for cities to defund the police.