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Oklahoma Virtually Bans Abortion in a New Law; Kamala Harris Calls It Outrageous

The law only permits abortions if the mother’s life is at risk, or in reported cases of rape and incest.

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Oklahoma Virtually Bans Abortion in a New Law; Kamala Harris Calls It Outrageous
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Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, on Wednesday, 25 May, signed the nation’s strictest abortion law, making the state the first to effectively ban abortion. The law, which immediately takes effect, allows private citizens to sue abortion providers who perform or induce an abortion “on a pregnant woman.”

The state’s legislature approved the ban which relies on civil lawsuits to circumvent the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to abortion, similar to a Texas law passed last year. The enforced law will allow anyone to sue an abortion provider for $10,000, regardless of the nature of absence of a relationship with the patient in question.

The law only permits abortions if the mother’s life is at risk, or in reported cases of rape and incest.
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ABC News reported that abortion providers have said that they will cease all abortion procedures the moment the bill is signed. Abortion providers through the US remain prepared for further restrictions, especially since the leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court, which exhibited a private vote to strike down the landmark Roe V Wade decision.

While the law says that fertilisation is that ”fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum,” the bill considers fertilisation, not implantation, as the beginning of pregnancy, hence not restricting the use of contraception which prevents implantation. The bill states that abortion does not entail the use, administration, prescription or sale of morning-after pills, Plan-B and any other contraception or emergency contraception.

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise today…From the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother. That is what I believe and that is what the majority of Oklahomans believe.”
Republican Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma Governor

He added that it is the prerogative and rights of other states if they choose to pass a different law, but maintained that Oklahoma will always stand up for life.

The GOP governor has already signed two controversial abortion control measures into law. In April, he signed an almost-total ban into law which makes performing an abortion illegal in the state, with an exception during times of medical emergency.

'Outrageous,' Says Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris called the bill "outrageous" and added that the new bans were "just the latest in a series of extreme laws from around the country" and have been crafted to "punish and control women."

"It has never been more urgent that we elect pro-choice leaders at the local, state, and federal level," the vice president tweeted.

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Speaking to ABC News, a state policy analyst Elizabeth Nash said: “It will also have severe ripple effects, especially for Texas patients who had been traveling to Oklahoma in large numbers after the Texas six-week abortion ban went into effect in September."

There will also be considerable fallout faced by the women of Texas, the state which has held the banner of civil enforcement of abortion bans, she said.

An abortion coalition composed of activists and abortion providers, spoke to CNN on Wednesday and expressed their intention to block the law in court.

These bills, in Republican-led states, are a part of an effort to scale back and restrict abortion rights.

The bill specifically authorises doctors to remove a “dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion,” or miscarriage, or to remove an ectopic pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening emergency that occurs when a fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube and early in pregnancy.

The bill authorises medical professionals to remove an ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening situation when the fertilised egg implants itself outside the uterus during early pregnancy. The bill further says that if an act is performed to “remove a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion” or to prevent a miscarriage, it is not an abortion.

(With inputs from ABC News and CNN.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Edited By :Tejas Harad
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