Oklahoma Abortion Law: When Does The Legislation Come Into Effect?

Oklahoma's legislature on Thursday passed a bill banning abortions from the stage of "fertilization" and allowing the public to sue those providing abortion who "knowingly" perform or induce the medical procedure "on a pregnant woman."

The bill pushed through by Republicans will consequently prohibit all abortions, except to save a woman's life or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, Associated Press has reported.

The latest legislation now ranks among America's strictest bills on the divisive issue and rebukes the protections granted in the precedent set by 1973's Roe v. Wade case.

The idea human life begins at conception and must be protected by the state cannot restrict abortion so long as the protections of Roe v Wade remain in place.

News of the Oklahoma Abortion Law has led those in the State to now question when the legislation could come into effect.

Oklahoma Abortion Law
Oklahoma legislators have passed legislation that will effectively prohibit abortion Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

What Is the Oklahoma Abortion Law?

The Oklahoma Abortion bill, HB 4327, is modeled after a Texas law exposing providers and those who "aid and abet" an abortion to civil lawsuits.

​HB 4327 considers "fertilization" to be "the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum."

While the bill defines pregnancy as a process starting at fertilization, and not implantation, the bill does not restrict the use of contraception preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in a uterus.

The Oklahoma Abortion Law states, abortion [...] "does not include the use, prescription, administration, procuring, or selling of Plan B, morning-after pills, or any other type of contraception or emergency contraception."

The bill's sponsor, Oklahoma House of Representatives member Wendi Stearman told CNN: "Our intent is to discourage abortion, not contraception."

Stearman told Newsweek: "I join Oklahomans across the state as we celebrate the victory of life. There are 4,000 Oklahomans each year who are never given a chance at life.

"That choice is taken from them. With the passage of HB 4327, Oklahoma is making an important decision to value life which is given by God."

abortion
An abortion-rights activist demonstrates while a small group of anti-abortion activists kneel and pray in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 11, 2022 in Washington, DC Getty Images

When Does the Legislation Come into Effect?

The Oklahoma bill banning abortion immediately from conception can come into effect straight away if signed by Republican governor Kevin Stitt.

CNN reports Stitt has previously guaranteed to sign all legislation limiting abortion into law, meaning ​HB 4327 could come into effect within days.

A study published by Pew Research in May this year indicates most Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

However, public support for allowing abortions is thought to drop sharply following the first trimester of pregnancy.

Mary Ziegler, Stearns Weaver Miller professor at Florida State University College of Law, suggested Thursday's development might not necessarily set a precedent for other U.S. States.

She told Newsweek: "Oklahoma's law may not set the bar for future abortion legislation only because states are likely to pass laws, like earlier Oklahoma bills, that criminalize all abortions directly.

"But some red states may do both, allowing both civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions, and because of the Supreme Court's analysis of SB8, there are few obvious ways to challenge this law as a whole, at least in federal court."

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt speaks during a roundtable discussion with US President Donald Trump about economic reopening of closures due to COVID-19, known as coronavirus, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 18, 2020. The bill, which Governor Stitt has pledged to sign into law, has already drawn legal challenges from abortion advocates SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images

When Was the Oklahoma Abortion Law Passed?

Oklahoma's Republican-dominated state legislature gave final approval to America's most extreme anti-abortion bill on Thursday, May 19.

This bill will in effect make Oklahoma the first state in the U.S. where almost all abortions are illegal.

Governor Stitt has signed several anti-abortion measures into law this year, including a ban on the procedure past six weeks of pregnancy, before it is argued some women even realize they are pregnant.

Pro-abortion rights group Planned Parenthood vowed to take Oklahoma to court over the legislation, saying the ban "must be stopped."

The protestors tweeted: "The Oklahoma legislature just passed a total ban on abortion, enforced by private citizens.

"This ban will take effect as soon as the governor signs the bill, making Oklahoma the first state to outlaw abortion entirely — even while Roe v. Wade still stands."

Update 05/20/22, 9:44 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comment from professor Mary Ziegler and Wendi Stearman.