Kevin Stitt signed an abortion ban into law on Wednesday night, making Oklahoma the most restrictive state in the U.S.


The pro-abortion rights demonstrators are in Boston.

AFP via Getty Images

If rape, incest or sexual assault have been reported to law enforcement, Stitt signed into law a bill that banned all abortions except for medical emergencies or in the case of rape, incest or sexual assault.

Immediately after being signed, the law took effect.

The abortion ban in Texas is enforced through civil lawsuits rather than by state officials, allowing any private citizen to file a lawsuit against anyone who performs the procedure or engages in conduct that aids or abets.

The person who actually has an abortion is not allowed to be sued.

The Texas and Oklahoma laws were designed to be harder for courts to block, as having private citizens carry out the ban makes it harder to name defendants in lawsuits.

In Texas, the law of the U.S. Supreme Court and Texas Supreme Court has worked out so far.

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The legal challenge against the Oklahoma ban will be filed by abortion rights organizations based on the success of the Texas law. The Idaho ban was blocked in state court because of Idaho law, so the legal arguments there wouldn't necessarily apply in Oklahoma.

Whether the ban and its lawsuit enforcement mechanism will be needed in a few weeks is questionable. A majority of justices were in favor of striking down the landmark ruling, according to a leaked draft opinion. If abortion is banned in Oklahoma, it will be a felony to perform the procedure, with an exception for the life of the pregnant person. The state has a second abortion ban that will take effect this summer that will make the procedure even more difficult, making it a crime to perform it if you are found guilty.

Chief Critic

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement Wednesday night that there would be a domino effect if the law was changed. As surrounding states cut off access, that chaos will only get worse.

Key Background

Oklahoma's ban could be the first of more than a dozen state abortion bans to take effect as the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Wade. The Guttmacher Institute projects that 26 states will ban the procedure if the court strikes down the law. In the last few months, Oklahoma has enacted three separate bans on abortion, as Texas has enacted a six-week ban. The University of Texas at Austin found that almost half of Texas patients seeking abortions went to Oklahoma after the Texas ban took effect.

Oklahoma passed a third abortion ban.

The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill that makes performing an abortion a felony.

Oklahoma has a 6-week abortion ban.

Oklahoma is already living it, advocates say.