In order to spread the punishment around, Oklahoma will use a similar enforcement mechanism as Texas and Idaho—a bounty system that allows people to file lawsuits against providers or people seeking abortions. To twist the knife, they will include anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion,” including paying for one as well as anyone who even “intends to engage” in either of the two actions above. The person getting the abortion is spared from that, because again Oklahoma Republicans are just so damned compassionate. But if you donate to one of the funds that might help an Oklahoman travel to get an abortion, you could be sued for $10,000 and compensatory damages by a bounty hunter.
There are a lot of problems with this bill, even considering how nice Republicans decided to be to pregnant people. For example, punishing people who are actually trying to have a baby if something happens to go wrong. “Looking at the language, it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t affect in vitro fertilization because it talks about as soon as the ovum and the sperm meet, and the egg is fertilized, that means that’s a person,” Oklahoma state Rep. Emily Virgin (D) said. “That’s what happens with in vitro fertilization, you create embryos.”
“The litany of oppressive and punitive anti-abortion laws that have come into being this year signal to the people of Oklahoma that their agency does not matter, their dreams do not matter, and that their lives do not matter,” Zack Gingrich-Gaylord, spokesman for Oklahoma abortion provider Trust Woman said in a statement.
He called it “a gratuitous and cruel flaunting of power by anti-abortion legislators.” Gov. Keven State signed a new law banning abortion at six weeks—with no rape or incest exceptions—just two weeks ago. “Our patients are frightened, confused about the new reality they now live in,” he said. “They are angry at a government that continues to demonstrate a reckless and enthusiastic disregard for their lives.”
Planned Parenthood is taking Oklahoma to court.
That’s essential. It’s also futile given the current composition of the court. It might delay enactment of the law some, however. Stitt will sign it, he’s vowed to sign any forced birth bill that comes across his desk.
The one way this gets fixed and our rights are restored and protected—literally the only single way—is with a different Supreme Court. Yes, Congress could pass a law codifying Roe, but states would challenge it and this Supreme Court would strike it down. The sooner every elected Democrat starts advocating for it, along with the majority of Democratic voters and the advocacy groups, the better.