Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed three pro-life bills into law Monday, including one that prohibits abortions if a heartbeat is detected and another that suspends the medical license of doctors who perform an abortion.
House Bill 2441, which passed the House 80-19 and the Senate 37-10, requires medical personnel to determine if an "unborn child has a heartbeat" before performing an abortion. It prohibits abortions if a heartbeat is detected, although it includes exceptions to protect the life of the mother and if an abortion would "avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function," but not "including psychological or emotional conditions."
Medical personnel who violate the law would "be guilty of homicide," according to the text of the new law.
Stitt signed another bill, HB 1102, that modifies the categories of "unprofessional conduct" in the licensing of doctors to include the performance of an abortion unless the procedure is performed to prevent the death or significant physical impairment of the mother. Any doctor who performs an abortion would lose their medical license for at least one year.
A third bill signed by Stitt, HB 1904, requires medical personnel who perform abortions to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.
The new laws take effect Nov. 1, although pro-choice groups say they will challenge them in court.
"I'm keeping my promise to sign all pro-life legislation," Stitt, a Republican, tweeted. "We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn!"
(3/4) I'm keeping my promise to sign all pro-life legislation. We now have three more laws protecting the lives of the unborn! HB 2441, HB 1904, and HB 1102. pic.twitter.com/PVdRBELNZg— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) April 26, 2021
Pro-choice groups criticized Stitt and the legislature.
"The legislation that passed today is designed to punish abortion providers, shame women and block access to safe, legal abortion. Politicians should not insert themselves into a person's private medical decisions about pregnancy or between doctors and their patients," said Gloria Pedro of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pornpak Khunatorn
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.