Washington, DC — Today, anti-choice Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law a total ban on abortion with a vigilante enforcement mechanism modeled after Texas’ draconian SB 8. The bill (HB 4327) will allow private citizens in Oklahoma to act as vigilantes and sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a pregnant person access abortion care. This is the first total ban on abortion with a vigilante enforcement mechanism to be signed into law in the country, signaling a dangerous escalation of an already cruel and dystopian ban. The total ban signed into law today is expected to be challenged in state court. It is scheduled to go into effect immediately unless it is blocked.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement in response:
“In the span of just a few months, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed into law multiple draconian abortion bans, making clear that anti-choice lawmakers aren’t waiting for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe before acting to eliminate abortion access for millions of people. Building on a cruel ban in Texas, this devastating ban signals a terrifying future for reproductive freedom. This extreme law will not only harm Oklahomans, but the millions of people who live in surrounding states whose options for abortion care are rapidly diminishing thanks to the relentless attacks waged by anti-choice lawmakers. It’s clear that these anti-choice lawmakers will not stop until they completely eviscerate reproductive freedom.”
Anti-choice lawmakers in Oklahoma have been working in overdrive to push through legislation to roll back or completely eliminate abortion access. In addition to this total ban with a bounty-hunting enforcement mechanism, Oklahoma’s legislature recently passed a “trigger ban,” a total abortion ban that criminalizes abortion providers (currently being challenged in court), and a similar copy of Texas’ SB 8 that bans abortion at six weeks with a bounty-hunting enforcement mechanism.
State lawmakers across the country are working harder than ever to roll back abortion access and find new and increasingly cruel ways to ban and restrict abortion. Anti-choice lawmakers have already introduced over 500 restrictions on abortion this year. When Texas’ SB 8—the state’s vigilante enforced ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy—went into effect, it effectively shut off access to abortion care in the state, forcing those that can afford it to travel hundreds of miles and cross state lines to access care in other states, including Oklahoma. Now, Oklahomans could face a future where they would have no place left in their state to go to seek abortion care. As with all attacks on reproductive freedom, the people who will be hurt most by the abortion bans in Oklahoma are those who already face barriers to accessing abortion care—including women; Black, Indigenous, and other people of color; those working to make ends meet; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; and people with disabilities.
It has never been more clear that reproductive freedom is in imminent danger. Oklahoma’s ban on abortion is part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access across the country as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hand down a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case regarding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. A recent leak of the Court’s draft majority opinion confirmed that the Court is poised to overturn Roe and end the constitutional right to abortion as we know it. If Roe fell tomorrow, 28 states are expected to take action to prohibit abortion outright. Of those, 13 states—including Oklahoma—already have “trigger bans” in place, which would ban abortion automatically.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.