Vice President Kamala Harris condemned a new Oklahoma law that aims to ban most abortions from the moment of conception, telling a group of abortion providers that the legislation is “outrageous.” Harris is making a political gesture out of a personal position.
“I am here today joined by doctors, nurses and leading advocates who are on the frontlines against this war on women’s rights,” Harris said during a virtual meeting with a nurse from Montana and doctors who perform abortions in Kansas, Missouri and Texas. “Just half an hour ago in Oklahoma, the state legislature passed one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country — a ban that would outlaw abortion from the moment of fertilization,” she said. “Now think about that for a second, from the moment of fertilization. It’s outrageous and it’s just the latest in a series of extreme laws around the country.”
The Oklahoma law bans abortion of “a human fetus or embryo in any stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.” The bill sponsor, GOP state Rep. Wendy Stearman, has said the prohibition doesn’t extend to medications such as Plan B that may block implantation of a fertilized embryo. The bill changes civil rather than criminal law to accomplish a state abortion ban, allowing for private lawsuits to enforce the ban and legal judgments of up to $10,000 against people who “aid or abet” an abortion.
Women who undergo the procedure aren’t penalized by the law, which also doesn’t restrict abortion in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Harris, an attorney who formerly worked as a prosecutor and California attorney general, also said Thursday that she disagrees with the leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling that would rescind federal abortion rights and allow states to set their own policies.