The governor of Oklahoma signed state legislation Tuesday making it a felony to perform an abortion in the state.
Under Senate Bill 612, “a person shall not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”
Anyone convicted of “performing or attempting to perform an abortion shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine not to exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), or by confinement in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term not to exceed ten (10) years, or by such fine and imprisonment.”
“I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk and that’s what we’re doing today,” Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a father of six, said Tuesday as he signed the legislation, the Washington Post reported. “We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma’s new law comes as Republican lawmakers across the country quickly enact legislation that bans abortion ahead of the major Supreme Court case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the court may overturn Roe v. Wade, sending the power to decide abortion laws back to the states.
“From my first day in office, protecting the unborn has been one of my top priorities,” said Republican state senator Nathan Dahm, the author of the bill, who is now running for congress. “Senate Bill 612 is the strongest pro-life legislation in the country right now, which effectively eliminates abortion in Oklahoma.”
“The Declaration of Independence states that our rights come from our creator, and that among those rights is the right to life, and that governments are instituted to secure those rights,” he added. “It is far past time that the government of the state of Oklahoma defend the right to life.”
Dahm emphasized that “those of us in elected office have a responsibility to defend the rights of the people.”
“No one should be able to intentionally take an innocent life,” he said. “Senate Bill 612 defends life from conception, will stop the murder of the unborn and end the massacre that has been taking place in our state for decades through abortion.”
Abortion supporters lamented the passage of the law, accusing pro-life lawmakers of trying to endanger women.
“It has never been more obvious that politicians are using tricks and games to pass these harmful laws,” abortionist Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “Oklahoma legislators are trying to ban abortion from all sides and merely seeing which of these dangerous, shameful bills they can get their governor to sign.”
The bill had passed the state senate last year and the house in April with strong support, the Post reported. It will go into effect this summer unless it is blocked by courts.
“Oklahoma has enacted some of the nation’s strongest protections for unborn children and their mothers, which could save as many as 3,800 lives a year,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement to The Daily Wire praising Stitt’s “courageous leadership.”
“The Dobbs Supreme Court case could finally unshackle pro-life Americans and their elected representatives to save millions of lives nationwide from the brutality of abortion,” she added. “The stakes have never been higher, but states like Oklahoma prove life is winning in America and the people are eager to modernize our laws.”