Governor signs pro-life bill allowing abortion providers to be charged with murder

Governor Kevin Stitt signed three anti-abortion bills including one that would allow physicians who perform an abortion to be charged with homicide.

The new restrictions on abortions include the banning after a fetal heartbeat is detected, revoking the medical license of doctors who perform abortions deemed not “medically necessary”, and a mandate that only a board-certified OB/GYN can perform an abortion.

“No person shall perform or induce an abortion without first detecting whether or not her unborn child has a heartbeat,” reads House Bill 2441.

H.B. 2441 provides certain exceptions when an abortion after a heartbeat is detected may be performed. “No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman after such time as her unborn child has been determined to have a detectable heartbeat except if, in reasonable medical judgement, she has a condition that so complicates her medical condition that it necessitates the abortion of her pregnancy to prevent her death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily junction, not including psychological or emotional conditions.”

Under H.B. 2441, a doctor who performs an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected could be charged with murder.

House Bill 1102, classifies abortion as “unprofessional conduct” by a doctor under Oklahoma statutes and revokes the medical license of doctors who perform abortions deemed not medically necessary to preserve life or prevent irreversible impairment of a patient’s major bodily function.

House Bill 1904, mandates that only board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists can perform abortions.

Rep. Cynthia Roe, the writer of HB 1904, says she hopes the legislation will reduce the number of abortions in Oklahoma.

“House Bill 1904 protects the lives of both unborn babies and mothers by ensuring that when abortion does occur, it is absolutely medically necessary to save the life of mother and the physician performing this procedure is extremely well-qualified,” Roe said. “I am optimistic that this legislation will help lower the abortion rate in Oklahoma.”

Gloria Pedro, a Planned Parenthood representative, attacked the laws saying “The legislation that passed today is designed to punish abortion providers, shame women and block access to safe, legal abortion. Politicians should not insert themselves into a person’s private medical decisions about pregnancy or between doctors and their patients,” Pedro said. 

Stitt says he is keeping his campaign promise to “sign every piece of anti-abortion legislation to come across his desk.”

As for the threat of legal challenges, “we’ll let the courts work out if any of those get overturned,” he said. 

In 2019, there were 4,424 abortions performed in Oklahoma, according to the most recent data from the State Department of Health.

Fetal heartbeat bills have passed in several other Republican-controlled states including Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, and Kentucky. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the Unborn Child Protection Act, which banned most abortions in the state, into law in March. Hutchinson later said the goal of the law was to challenge Roe v. Wade.