Abortion care providers and clinics in Oklahoma are trying to figure out their next steps after the state legislature approved a ban on nearly all abortions from the time of fertilization.
The law, which would be the toughest abortion ban in the country, is now heading to Governor Kevin Stitt’s office. Like the six-week abortion passed in Texas last year, Oklahoma’s bill allows private citizens to sue anyone who provides or helps provide an illegal abortion. Mr. Stitt should sign the law.
The consequences for the few clinics in Oklahoma that provide abortion care — not to mention the thousands of Oklahomans and out-of-state patients who seek that care — will be devastating.
The day after Oklahoma enacted a separate six-week abortion ban several weeks ago, Tulsa Women’s Clinic escort Susan Braselton saidPBS News that the clinic had to cancel all but five of its 22 appointments. Under the new law, the clinic probably wouldn’t even have been able to provide care for the five people it saw.
“These laws don’t stop abortion,” said Andrea Gallegos, the clinic’s executive administrator.The New York Times. “Women will always seek and obtain abortions. We are simply forcing the citizens of this country to flee their own state to access health care. It’s pretty awful.
Gallegos suggested last week that the clinic may have to close completely just in case Roe vs. Wade is overthrown. This Oklahoma bill would have the same effect.
The Tulsa Women’s Clinic is one of only two clinics in the city that offers abortion services. Planned Parenthood operates the other clinic in Tulsa and another in Oklahoma City, where provider Trust Women also has an office. Oklahoma abortion providers had seen an explosion in demand for patients unable to access care in Texas, but many of those patients will now have to travel much farther to access abortion.
It’s an incredibly bleak landscape for abortion providers and patients. Some have suggested that Oklahoma’s native tribes might be able to provide abortion care on tribal lands, but Stitt, who like other Republican leaders in the state opposes abortion even in cases of rape, seemed to threaten tribes considering this option over the weekend. .
“We think it’s possible that some tribes are trying to implement abortion on demand,” Stitt told FOX 23 in Tulsa. “They think you can be a thousandth tribesman and not have to follow state law.”
Oklahoma is one of the most indigenous states in the country. Only Alaska, New Mexico, and South Dakota have higher native shares of their state populations.
The Independent Gt