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OK Gov Signs Nation's Strongest Ban on Abortion, Approves Transgender Bathroom Bill

05-26-2022
GovStitt2
In this July 9, 2020, file photo Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) has signed into law the nation's strongest ban on abortion, making it the first state in the nation to make abortion unavailable for the majority of cases.

State lawmakers approved the ban, which is enforced by civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution.

The only exceptions are to save the life of a pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.

The law takes effect immediately, and if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade as expected in the coming weeks, then the law could survive judicial challenges as well.

Bathroom Policies

Gov. Stitt also signed off on another big law supported by conservatives -- a bill requiring public school students to use only the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate.

About a dozen conservative states have passed laws protecting the privacy and safety of girls from transgender bathroom policies, upholding women's rights in school sports, and protecting young people from irreversible gender-change treatments before they're old enough to make an informed decision.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Republican-controlled Oklahoma House and Senate last week, and Stitt signed it on Wednesday.

"It's about safety, it's about protection, it's about common sense," said Republican Rep. Danny Williams, the House author of the bill. "The goal of this bill is to protect our children."

Democrats who opposed the bill said it singles out and targets transgender students, putting them at risk of ridicule. And the left-leaning group Freedom Oklahoma is looking to file a legal challenge.

Stitt, a Republican running for reelection, earlier this year signed bills to prevent transgender persons from taking spots from girls on female sports teams in public schools or universities and to prohibit transgender people from changing their biological gender on their birth certificates.

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