The Oklahoma bill would, if signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt, ban abortion from the moment of fertilization, except in certain circumstances.
Responding to the move, Jean-Pierre reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s support for abortion under the Constitution. Biden, she said, believes that women “have the fundamental right” to abortion as part of making their “own reproductive health choices.”
“Roe has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned,” Jean-Pierre said in the statement. “Today’s action by the Oklahoma legislature is the most extreme effort to undo these fundamental rights we have seen to date.”
However, the bill’s Republican sponsors in both the state’s House and Senate took the opposite view.
State House Rep. Wendi Stearman described it as “the most effective lifesaving anti-abortion” bill in the country, and state Sen. Julie Daniels said that it would “save many innocent lives by acting as a deterrent to those who perform abortions.”
Under the legislation, people will not be allowed to perform or attempt to perform an abortion in the state unless it’s necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman or the pregnancy is a result of rape, sexual assault, or incest.
Oklahoma lawmakers modeled the bill after Texas, where abortion laws have withstood Supreme Court challenges. In Texas, the law provides for citizens to bring lawsuits against abortion providers but precludes enforcement by state officials.
Jean-Pierre took aim at this, characterizing it as an “absurd plan to allow private citizens to sue their neighbors for providing reproductive health care and helping women to exercise their constitutional rights.”
“This is part of a growing effort by ultra MAGA officials across the country to roll back the freedoms we should not take for granted in this country,” she said. “They are starting with reproductive rights, but the American people need to know that other fundamental rights, including the right to contraception and marriage equality, are at risk.”
Abortion has been legal since the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, but this could soon change after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion indicated that the majority of the top court’s justices were in favor of overturning the ruling.