In a monumental event, Oklahoma has effectively ended access to abortion.
On May 25 Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law the strictest abortion ban in the United States, making Oklahoma the first state in the nation to halt availability of the procedure.
Just as was done in 2021 in Texas, Oklahoma lawmakers legislated a ban enforced by civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution.
The law takes effect immediately, banning all abortions with few exceptions. Abortion providers had stated that they would stop performing the procedure as soon as the bill was signed, reports ABC News, and now that has happened.
“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,” said the first-term Republican in a statement. “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.”
Abortion proponents and providers across the country have been bracing for the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court’s new conservative majority might further restrict termination of pregnancies, and the tension has been exacerbated by a leaked Supreme Court opinion indicating that Roe. v. Wade might well be reversed this summer.
Typifying the panicked response of the left to the new restrictions, Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst for the abortion-rights supporting Guttmacher Institute, said: “The impact will be disastrous for Oklahomans. … 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.”