Gov. Kevin Stitt has promised to implement some of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the nation in anticipation of a pending challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
Stitt has already signed Senate Bill 612 into law, a near-total ban on abortion. The law makes providing abortion care a felony with an exception only to save the life of the mother.
Stitt is also expected to sign a bill to ban abortion after six weeks that makes no exceptions for rape or incest. Earlier this month, Stitt spoke about abortion policy on the conservative Christian radio show Washington Watch, hosted by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. We used government statistics, polling data, reproductive health databases and other sources to fact-check some of Stitt’s statements on the show.
Claim: The majority of Oklahomans support banning abortion.
Stitt said: “I represent 4 million Oklahomans, the majority of the people stand with me, and we’re going to continue to push back against the federal government saying that that’s okay.”
Stitt’s office pointed to a 2015 Sooner Poll survey that found 68% of Oklahoman respondents considered themselves pro-life. The poll included 403 likely Oklahoman voters and was commissioned by Protect Life and Marriage Oklahoma. The group was led by Baptist preacher Paul Blair and sought to ban same-sex marriage and abortion in the state.
“It is doubtful views have changed significantly in favor of abortion since then,” said spokeswoman Carly Atchison. “I would also add that Governor Stitt ran on a promise to sign every single pro-life bill that hit his desk and won with more votes than any gubernatorial candidate in history.”
But a Pew Research Center study using data from 2014 found that 51% of 391 Oklahoman respondents believed abortion should be legal in all or most cases and 45% believed it should be illegal in all or most cases.
– Kayla Branch
Claim: The United States has fewer limits on abortion than other “civilized countries.”
Stitt said: “The United States has some of the most egregious abortion laws of any civilized countries. And I think people are waking up to how unbelievable and how out on the fringes you know, the U.S. has been on this issue.”
Fact check: Mixed
Many European nations that permit abortion upon request place limits on the procedure after 12 weeks, including France, Germany, Ireland, Greece and Denmark, according to the Global Abortion Policies Database. Iceland and Norway limit abortions only after 22 weeks. The Netherlands and Singapore permit elective abortions up to 24 weeks. Canada has no national gestational limit on elective abortions, although laws vary by province.
In England, Wales, and Scotland, the National Health Service provides free-of-charge elective abortions up to 24 weeks gestation.
The majority of nations allow abortion in “at least some circumstances” and just six countries completely ban the procedure, according to the nonpartisan think tank the Council on Foreign Relations.
In the United States, the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade held that women have a constitutional right to an abortion, but states can limit that right after the point a fetus could survive outside of the womb. According to the reproductive rights research group the Guttmacher Institute, 43 states place gestational age restrictions of some kind on abortion.
Claim: Colorado has enacted legislation that allows abortion until birth.
Stitt said: “Colorado just passed a bill that’s just, it’s just horrendous. They can abort a baby until birth.”
Fact check: True but misleading
Other fact-checkers, including Lead Stories and PolitiFact, have rated this claim as false. The new Colorado law codifies Roe v. Wade in state statute, ensuring continued legal access to abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the ruling.
“There is no legal limit on how late in pregnancy an abortion can be performed in Colorado,” Stitt’s spokeswoman Atchison said in response.
Atchison also provided a publication from Colorado late-term abortion provider Warren Hern that documents that some abortions are performed through 39 weeks. “In all cases, a documented diagnosis of fetal abnormality or fetal demise was made prior to referral,” according to Hern’s abstract.
Late-term abortions after a fetus is considered viable are rare. Less than 1% of abortions in the United States occur after 21 weeks of gestation, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
“While viability is determined on a case-by-case basis and dependent on a variety of factors including gestational age and fetal weight, a baby that is in the process of being born — or “moments before birth” — is unlikely to meet the standard under which abortion is legal,” PolitiFact found.
Rating system: True: A claim that is backed up by factual evidence
Mostly True: A claim that is mostly true but also contains some inaccurate details
Mixed: A claim that contains a combination of accurate and inaccurate or unproven information True but misleading: A claim that is factually true but omits critical details or context
Mostly False: A claim that is mostly false but also contains some accurate details
False: A claim that has no basis in fact