Friday, May 20, 2022

Legislature approves bill allowing for civil lawsuits against those performing or abetting abortions

While the headlines might scream that this bill bans abortion, it really doesn't. It's another smoke-and-mirrors piece of legislation that falls short of abolishing abortion in Oklahoma. It has plenty of exceptions (one being "an abortion performed at the behest of federal agencies, contractors, or employees that are carrying out duties under federal law, if a prohibition on that abortion would violate the doctrines of preemption or intergovernmental immunity"... which sounds really bizarre). It furthermore abdicates the express duty of the state government to uphold justice and defend life, and exempts those who seek out murderers-for-hire.

One bright spot is that it does recognize life as beginning at fertilization, rather than something like a heartbeat or pain.

House Approves Abortion Civil Liability Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved House Bill 4327 as amended by the Oklahoma Senate.

HB4327, authored by Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville, in the House and Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, in the Senate, provides civil liability for anyone performing or abetting an abortion in Oklahoma.

Structured much like the "Heartbeat" bill recently passed in this state and other states, HB4327 became the most strongly pro-life bill of its kind by allowing civil liability from conception.

"It is my sincere hope that, in addition to the criminal bill passed this session, this civil liability bill will provide strong, additional protection of the life of unborn children in Oklahoma," Stearman said.

The intent of this bill is to provide an additional layer of protection of human life in addition to criminal charges. Because civil action may be brought by any private person on behalf of an unborn child, this bill does not depend on prosecutorial discretion for its enforcement. The intent is that exposure to civil liability can be a powerful, additional incentive to protect the life of the unborn child.

Stearman thanked Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, Sen. Daniels and Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, for their work in both chambers to secure passage of the bill.

"This bill furthers our efforts to protect the life of the unborn and to stop those who participate in their deaths," Roberts said. "The sanctity of life is our most precious gift, and I'm happy to have lent my support to this and all the other pro-life bills that have passed the House."

Having passed the House, passed the Senate with amendments, and those amendments being accepted by the House, HB4327 now proceeds to the governor for his signature. If signed it will take immediate effect.

Wendi Stearman serves District 11 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Her district includes parts of Rogers, Tulsa and Washington counties.


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