Oklahoma governor signs ban on most abortions


Oklahoma’s Republican Governor, Kevin Stitt, signed the Texas-style abortion ban on Tuesday, banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, part of a nationwide effort in GOP-led states in the hope that the conservative Supreme Court of the United States will uphold the new restrictions.

“I want Oklahoma to be the friendliest state in the country,” Stitt tweeted after signing the invoice.

Stitt’s signing of the bill comes after a draft leaked opinion from the nation’s supreme court that it was considering weakening or overturning the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nearly 50 years ago.

The bill that Stitt signed takes effect immediately with his signature, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an urgent request to temporarily halt the bill. Abortion providers say now that when the new law goes into effect, they will immediately stop providing services to women after six weeks of pregnancy.

“Although the law is in effect, now signed into law by the governor, abortion services follow,” said Rabia Muqaddam, a staff attorney with the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. six weeks would be virtually unavailable.” Oklahoma abortion providers in this case. “It’s a short-term loss, but we hope that the Oklahoma Supreme Court will still bail us out.”

The new law bans abortions when heart activity can be detected in an embryo, which experts say is six weeks pregnant, before many women know they are pregnant. A similar bill passed in Texas last year led to a dramatic drop in the number of abortions performed in that state, with many women traveling to Oklahoma and other surrounding states for the procedure.

Iman Alsaden, medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said the Texas law that went into effect in September gave their staff an idea of ​​what the post-Roe country might look like.

“Since that day, my colleagues and I have regularly treated patients who were fleeing their communities in search of care,” says Alsaden. “They are taking a break from work, school and family responsibilities to get care so that by September 2021 they can be safe and ready to live in their community.”

The bill allows abortions if performed due to a medical emergency, but makes no exception if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Like the Texas law, the Oklahoma bill would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman have an abortion for up to $10,000. After the US Supreme Court allowed that mechanism to remain, other Republican-led states sought to copy Texas’ ban. The governor of Idaho signed the first imitator bill in March, though it was temporarily blocked by the state Supreme Court.

Stitt earlier this year signed a bill making abortion a felony in Oklahoma, but that bill won’t take effect until this summer and legal experts say it is likely to be blocked because Roe v’s decision. Wade remains the same. land law.

The number of abortions performed each year in Oklahoma, home to four abortion clinics, has steadily declined over the past two decades, from more than 6,200 in 2002 to 3,737 in 2020, the least in more than 20 years, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. In 2020, before the Texas law was passed, about 9% of abortions performed in Oklahoma were women from Texas.

Before the Texas ban went into effect on September 1, about 40 women from Texas had abortions in Oklahoma each month, the data showed. That number rose to 222 Texas women in September and 243 in October.

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