Vice President Kamala Harris has slammed Oklahoma’s anti-abortion bill, which passed less than an hour before her Thursday meeting with abortionists.
The vice president made her opening remarks ahead of a virtual discussion with providers and reproductive rights advocates, in which she referred to the Texas-style abortion ban that the Oklahoma legislature just finalized. The bill would ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization and would empower private citizens to sue providers.
“Now, think about it: from the moment of fertilization,” Harris said. “This is outrageous, and it’s just the latest in a series of extreme laws across the country. Several medical experts at our meeting today saw the impact of these laws designed to punish and control women.”
Harris then heard stories from abortion providers she met who, regardless of personal risk, worked in states with extremely strict anti-abortion legislation. These providers include obstetricians practicing in California, Oklahoma and Kansas, obstetricians practicing in Texas, chief medical officers in Missouri and nurses in Montana.
The Oklahoma bill, which passed overwhelmingly on Thursday, was one of at least three anti-abortion bills sent to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt this year, who said he would sign the latest bill. Earlier this month, Stitt signed another Texas-style abortion bill outlawing abortions after embryos have detected cardiac activity — at about six weeks. A third bill, expected to take effect this summer, makes abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
“At its core it’s about our future as a nation, about whether we live in a country where the government can interfere with individual decisions. It’s about our future,” Harris said. “At the same time, however, we cannot deny that this decision will have a real and immediate impact on the women of our country.”
The White House also slammed the vote on Thursday, warning that the U.S. Republican Party would not stop on abortion rights.
“The American people need to know that other fundamental rights, including the right to contraception and marriage equality, are at risk,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Jean-Pierre also described the Oklahoma bill as “the most extreme effort to undermine these fundamental rights we have seen so far.”
“Furthermore, it employs Texas’ absurd program to allow private citizens to sue their neighbors for providing reproductive health care and helping women exercise their constitutional rights,” she said. “This is part of a growing effort by extreme MAGA officials across the country to take back freedoms we shouldn’t take for granted in this country.”