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Oklahoma governor signs nation's most restrictive abortion ban into law

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Senate Bill 612 in April. He signed a more restrictive bill on Wednesday.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Senate Bill 612 in April. He signed a more restrictive abortion bill on Wednesday.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. The measure completely bans the procedure.

Stitt’s office announced he signed House Bill 4327 on Wednesday evening. It has exceptions for medical emergencies and rape, but effectively bans all abortions — beginning at fertilization.

The Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade guaranteed the right to abortion up to the point of viability. As that Court becomes more conservative, and less likely to strike down states’ abortion limits, Republican lawmakers across the country are attempting to push the threshold back. However, none of them have taken as extreme measures as Oklahoma’s.

For example, Oklahoma and Texas both passed laws in the past year limiting the procedure to about six weeks of pregnancy. The upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion comes from a legal challenge to Mississippi’s restriction, which starts at 15 weeks.

The Oklahoma law explicitly states it does not affect access to birth control measures such as Plan B or intrauterine devices (IUDs), which can block a fertilized egg from implanting.

The law goes into effect immediately.

Catherine Sweeney was StateImpact Oklahoma's health reporter from 2020 to 2023.
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