Governor Stitt, AG O’Connor Celebrate Oklahoma Becoming a Pro-Life State
Governor Kevin Stitt and Attorney General John O’Connor in a press conference this afternoon celebrated Oklahoma becoming a pro-life state and banning abortion after the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Governor Stitt and Attorney General O’Connor were joined by Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett.
“I am thrilled that Attorney General John O’Connor certified the Supreme Court’s ruling to ban abortion in Oklahoma,” said Gov. Stitt. “When I ran for governor, I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that came across my desk. I am thrilled to have kept that promise to get us to where we are today and I am proud to be called America’s most pro-life governor.”
Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision, Attorney General O’Connor certified that Roe and Casey were overruled, banning abortion in Oklahoma.
“My first major act as Oklahoma’s Attorney General was to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn their decisions in Roe and Casey,” Attorney General O’Connor said. “Today, in an historic opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court did just that. After almost 50 years, and after the deaths of over 60 million children in America, the U.S. Supreme Court finally returned policy making on this life and death issue to the people. I am grateful the Court demonstrated the courage to issue this landmark decision in the face of an unprecedented campaign of violence and intimidation.”
The press conference can be watched here.
Oklahoma’s “trigger law” was enacted last year (SB 612) and amended this year. Pursuant to this amended trigger law, the Oklahoma Attorney General has the duty of determining whether the U.S. Supreme Court has overruled in whole or in part Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, such that the State of Oklahoma may enforce Section 861 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes or enact a similar statute prohibiting abortion throughout pregnancy. Section 861 is a 1910 law that makes intentionally performing an abortion on a woman a felony, punishable up to five years in prison, unless it is “necessary to preserve her life.”
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Attorney General John O’Connor certified that Roe and Casey have been overruled. That immediately put into effect Oklahoma’s trigger law, which also means—because the Attorney General certified it—that Section 861’s total criminal ban on abortion throughout pregnancy can be enforced because state officials were never actually enjoined from enforcing it; rather, it was merely declared unconstitutional under Roe.
Simply put, Section 861 prohibits abortion in the short term, and Senate Bill 612, passed this year, will become the primary prohibition once the law takes effect on August 25, 2022. Until then, civil penalties could likely be obtained throughout pregnancy under House Bill 4327, which includes exceptions for rape and incest, and became effective May 25, 2022.