Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act, Oklahoma Senate Bill 1728, signed into law
Published: May 23rd, 2020
Legislation was signed into law Thursday (May 22) to hold physicians who perform fraudulent abortions solely liable for the wrongful death. Senate Bill 1728, by Sen. David Bullard, creates the Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act and modifies provisions related to awarding damages resulting from such wrongful deaths.
The Durant Republican said, in a Senate press release sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations, the bill will allow parents and grandparents of unborn children to seek damages against a physician if consent is gained through fraudulent means. If the woman is coerced, inebriated, given falsified information, or if the physician does not disclose the physical and/or psychological harms that will be caused by the abortion, the physician may be sued.
“An overwhelming amount of data indicates these are the tactics used by the abortion industry. Once these fraudulent schemes are exposed and no longer available, thousands of unborn babies will be saved every year,” Bullard said. “When women and families choose to use this power to make Oklahoma an abortion desert, countless innocent lives will be saved.”
The Senate press release said “the bill specifies that physicians cannot waive liability prior to performing an abortion. Recoverable damages may not include the cost of the abortion. The bill also removes the exclusion of legal abortions and acts committed during diagnostic testing or treatment from deaths, which may constitute recoverable damages.
“In addition, the bill also protects physicians who choose life over an abortion. Doctors who do everything a reasonably prudent doctor would do to save the life of the mother and child will be protected from civil liabilities.”
Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, served as House author of the measure, which will become law November 1, 2020.
“We’ve gotten to the point in this country where a woman is only believed if her voice lines up with a specific political ideology,” said Gann. “This legislation restores the voice of millions of women and gives them the right to fight back against an industry that brutalizes them for profit.”
According to the Justice Foundation, up to 69 percent of abortions in the U.S. are performed without legal consent and are coerced. Their analysis found, the Senate staff release summarized, “that mothers are persuaded to go through with abortions through illegal coercion including being lied to about the age or health of their babies or about the safety of the actual procedure. Many women are drugged prior to actually agreeing to the procedure thinking they are only getting examined, but wake up to realize the procedure is complete.”
The CDC’s latest statistics show that there were more than 623,000 abortions performed in 2016, or nearly 200 abortions for every 1,000 live births.
Before heading to the governor for his signature, S.B. 1728 cleared the Senate on a 37-9 vote, and passed the House 76-20.
Anthony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, applauded passage of S.B. 1728 and the governor’s signature on the new law.
Lauinger noted: “Employing Oklahoma’s Wrongful-Death law, S.B. 1728 provides enhanced legal rights to women who have been misled into having an abortion by increasing the civil liability of abortionists who have deceived such women. The bill also provides legal recourse for women in circumstances where an abortionist has failed to comply with all applicable Oklahoma laws.”