Status: 04/13/2022 10:23 a.m.
The US state of Oklahoma now has the strictest abortion law in the United States. Medical personnel risk jail time and fines if they perform abortions. Exceptions only apply to protect the life of the mother.
In Oklahoma, having an abortion is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Exceptions should only apply if the expectant mother’s life is in acute danger due to the pregnancy, according to a new law signed by Governor Kevin Stitt.
The proposed sanctions do not threaten pregnant women, but medical personnel who perform abortions. “We want to ban abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” Stitt said. “We believe that every life has value.”
America’s most ambitious abortion law
The law, passed by a large majority in the Oklahoma legislature, is the most far-reaching abortion law in the United States. During the election campaign, he promised “lifetime” laws, Stitt said. Family planning associations have already announced legal proceedings. The law was unconstitutional, he said.
According to local media, the new law is expected to come into force at the end of August. Republican Stitt acknowledged that there will certainly be many lawsuits against him. However, he said he is confident that it will last eventually.
PSAKI: “Worrying national trend”
Republican Nathan Dahm said the law would effectively eliminate abortion in Oklahoma.
US President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the law an “unconstitutional attack” on women’s rights. The law does not even provide exceptions for rape or incest, she criticized. The regulations are part of “a worrying national trend to attack women’s rights”.
Texas: Abortion banned from the first heartbeat
Oklahoma, traditionally conservative, with around four million inhabitants, is located in the north of the populous state of Texas, where around 30 million people live. A strict abortion law has also been in force there since last year. The legal situation in the US state of Idaho is just as strict.
Texas law prohibits all abortions once the fetal heartbeat has been detected. This can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. Many women do not even know at this stage that they are pregnant.
What is unusual about this law is that it allows individuals to bring a civil action against anyone who witnesses an abortion.
historic judgment of 1973
Other Republican-led states are also trying to broadly restrict access to abortions. According to a landmark Washington Supreme Court ruling in 1973, abortions are actually permitted in the United States until the fetus is viable – today around the 24th week of pregnancy.
The ruling, known as “Roe v. Wade,” is seen as a milestone. A lawsuit is pending in the Supreme Court against an abortion law in Mississippi that bans nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. If the conservative nine-justice majority leaves the rule in place, other states could also further restrict abortions.
Ten years in prison for abortion in Oklahoma
Arthur Landwehr, ARD Washington, April 6, 2022 11:53 a.m.