For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 3, 2022
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Oklahoma’s anti-choice legislature continues to jam through legislation to block people from accessing abortion care and punish those who help them
Today, Oklahoma’s anti-choice Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law a draconian abortion ban (SB 1503) to ban abortion at about 6 weeks of pregnancy, before many people even realize they’re pregnant. The bill, modeled after Texas’ SB 8, will allow private citizens in Oklahoma to act as vigilantes and sue abortion providers or anyone who helps pregnant people access abortion care. Earlier today, the state Supreme Court declined to immediately block the law from going into effect.
This newest abortion ban in Oklahoma comes on the heels of a leaked Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case which suggests that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to abortion, allowing states to ban abortion.
Anti-choice lawmakers in Oklahoma have been in overdrive pushing through legislation to roll back or completely eliminate abortion access. In addition to this 6-week ban with a bounty-hunting enforcement mechanism, Oklahoma’s legislature has recently passed a bill to update its existing “trigger” ban and a total abortion ban that criminalizes abortion providers (currently being challenged in court). The legislature is also on the verge of sending another anti-choice bill to the governor’s desk, one that bans abortion completely and includes a bounty-hunting enforcement mechanism.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement in response:
“This latest ban on abortion signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt is a horrifying step towards what will be a terrifying future for reproductive freedom. We’re already seeing this play out in my home state of Texas – this extreme bill will do real harm to Oklahomans and people from other states trying to access the care they need. Extremist politicians across the United States, emboldened by the Supreme Court’s anti-choice supermajority, are clamoring at the opportunity to copy draconian bans that mirror what we’ve seen in Texas. Let’s be clear: any ban on abortion care is meant to take away our freedom to make our own decisions about pregnancy and parenthood and impose one-size-fits-all restrictions with a cruel political agenda.”
State lawmakers across the country are working harder than ever to roll back abortion access and find new and increasingly cruel ways to ban and restrict abortion. Anti-choice lawmakers have already introduced over 500 restrictions on abortion this year. When Texas’ SB 8—the state’s vigilante-enforced ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy—went into effect, it effectively shut off access to abortion care in the state, forcing those who can afford it to travel hundreds of miles and cross state lines to access care in other states, including Oklahoma. Now, Oklahomans could face a future where they would have no place left in their state to go to seek abortion care.
It has never been more clear that reproductive freedom is in imminent danger. Oklahoma’s ban on abortion is part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access across the country as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case regarding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
If Roe fell tomorrow, 28 states are expected to take action to prohibit abortion outright. Of those, 13 states – including Oklahoma – already have “trigger bans” in place, which would ban abortion automatically.
The people hurt most by attacks on reproductive freedom are those who already face barriers to accessing abortion care—including women; Black, Indigenous, and other people of color; those working to make ends meet; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; and people with disabilities.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.