Lawmakers Ask AG O’Connor For Clarity On ‘Self-Administered’ Abortions

A group of state lawmakers has requested that the Attorney General make some clarifications on 'self-administered' abortions.

Tuesday, November 29th 2022, 8:57 pm


A group of Oklahoma lawmakers is making a request of Attorney General John O’Connor. They want clarity about whether self-administered abortions are a crime and if the pregnant person would face consequences. 

When Oklahoma’s trigger law, SB 918, went into effect, the law also repealed the law that made self-administered abortion illegal. 

 Lawmakers said their request was for clarity after the White House encouraged people in states like Oklahoma to go online to order the necessary medication. 

Eight state lawmakers were behind the request to the Attorney General. Those lawmakers include Sen. Warren Hamilton, who's leading the charge, Sen. Shane Jett, Sen. Nathan Dahm, Sen. Jake Merick, Sen. George Burns, Rep. Wendi Stearman, Rep. Tom Gann, Rep. David Smith. 

The lawmakers posed five questions in the request. 

  1. Does current Oklahoma law make it a crime for a mother to perform or induce an abortion upon herself to intentionally terminate her pregnancy with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth? 
  2. If the answer to question number 1 is no, is the answer yes if the mother is not under the supervision of a duly licensed physician who is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology? 
  3. Is self-induced abortion otherwise a crime in Oklahoma? 
  4. If the answer to question number 1,2, or 3 is yes, could a mother who performed or induced such an abortion be lawfully charged under Oklahoma Statutes Title 21, Chapter 21 (“Attempts to Kill”), Section 652, if the elements of that crime were present? 
  5. If the answer to question number 1,2, or 3 is yes, could a mother who performed or induced such an abortion be lawfully charged under an applicable section of Oklahoma Statutes Title 21, Chapter 24(“Homicide”), if the elements of the crime were present? 

Trust Women Clinic's Communications Director, Zack Gingrich-Gaylord said, "on the one hand we do appreciate the desire for clarity in the law." 

There has been an increase in requests for abortion pills since the trigger law took effect in Oklahoma. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association says since its implementation, they have seen requests more than triple in the state. 

"They're looking for ways to continue to foreclose upon any type of avenue people might have to get self-medicated abortions or reproductive healthcare," said Gingrich-Gaylord. "To further criminalize pregnant people and people who have abortions." 

We reached out to all eight lawmakers who made the request. They did not comment. 

The opinion request sent to AG O’Connor said while SB 918 did repeal the 1893 law that banned at home abortions, it still makes at home abortions illegal according to the following state statute. 

63 Okl. St. § 1-7331263 Okl. St. § 1-733(entitled “Self-Induced Abortions”) provides as follows:  No woman shall perform or induce an abortion upon herself except under the supervision of a duly licensed physician. Any physician who supervises a woman in performing or inducing an abortion upon herself shall fulfill all the requirements of this article which apply to a physician performing or inducing an abortion. 

"Abortion medication is approved by the FDA. It's medically sound," said Gingrich-Gaylord. "And it's also appropriate to administer through telemedicine, through the mail." 

They also had questions about whether pregnant people who use self induced abortion methods can be charged with two crimes. 

21 Okl. St. § 652Among other things, 21 Okl. St. § 652 provides as follows: C. Any person who commits any assault and battery upon another, including an unborn child as defined in Section 1-730 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, by means of any deadly weapon, or by such other means or force as is likely to produce death, or in any manner attempts to kill another, including an unborn child as defined in Section 1-730 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, or in resisting the execution of any legal process, shall upon conviction be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary not exceeding life.  

21 Okl. St. § 69121 Okl. St. § 691 provides as follows: A. Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. B. As used in this section, “human being” includes an unborn child, as defined in Section 1-730 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes. 

Lawmakers clarify under both sections, both potential charges do not include instances of a "legal abortion" or during " acts which are committed pursuant to the usual and customary standards of medical practice during diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment." 

"We don't have to look far to see how the law is used to conflate those two circumstances and be turned against pregnant people. We often warn against the government coming in between you and your doctor and now the government is coming in between you and your mail carrier. There's certainly some privacy issues that come with that," said Gingrich-Gaylord. 

The office of the Attorney General said they will review the request. 

AG O'Connor did celebrate Oklahoma's restrictive laws when they went into effect after Roe fell and said, ""Amazing victory for America's unborn children and for our right to make policy decisions through our elected representatives. None of our laws-civil or criminal punish the mother in connection with an abortion. " 

You can read the full request by following this link. 


Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News on 6 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

November 29th, 2022

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

Top Headlines

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024

February 23rd, 2024