Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a Texas-style abortion ban on Tuesday that prohibits abortions after about six weeks of being pregnant, a part of a nationwide push in GOP-led states hopeful that the conservative U.S. Supreme Courtroom will uphold new restrictions.
“I need Oklahoma to be essentially the most pro-life state within the nation,” Stitt tweeted after signing the invoice.
Stitt’s signing of the invoice comes on the heels of a leaked draft opinion from the nation’s excessive court docket that it’s contemplating weakening or overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade resolution that legalized abortion practically 50 years in the past.
The invoice Stitt signed takes impact instantly along with his signature, and the Oklahoma Supreme Courtroom on Tuesday denied an emergency request to briefly halt the invoice. Abortion suppliers say now that the brand new regulation is in impact, they are going to instantly cease offering providers for ladies after six weeks of being pregnant.
“Whereas the regulation is in impact, which it now could be as a result of the governor signed it, abortion providers after six weeks shall be largely unavailable,” mentioned Rabia Muqaddam, a employees legal professional for the New York-based Middle for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Oklahoma abortion suppliers within the case. “It is a short-term loss, however we’re hopeful that the Oklahoma Supreme Courtroom will nonetheless grant us reduction.”
The brand new regulation prohibits abortions as soon as cardiac exercise could be detected in an embryo, which consultants say is roughly six weeks right into a being pregnant, earlier than many ladies know they’re pregnant. An identical invoice accepted in Texas final yr led to a dramatic discount within the variety of abortions carried out in that state, with many ladies going to Oklahoma and different surrounding states for the process.
Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director of Deliberate Parenthood Nice Plains, mentioned Texas’ regulation that took impact in September has given their workers an concept of what a post-Roe nation may appear to be.
“Since that day, my colleagues and I’ve frequently handled sufferers who’re fleeing their communities to hunt care,” Alsaden mentioned. “They’re taking time without work of labor, taking trip of college and taking time away from their household duties to get the care that till September 2021 they had been capable of get safely and readily of their communities.”
The invoice authorizes abortions if carried out as the results of a medical emergency, however there are not any exceptions if the being pregnant is the results of rape or incest.
Just like the Texas regulation, the Oklahoma invoice would permit personal residents to sue abortion suppliers or anybody who helps a lady acquire an abortion for as much as $10,000. After the U.S. Supreme Courtroom allowed that mechanism to stay in place, different Republican-led states sought to repeat Texas’ ban. Idaho’s governor signed the primary copycat measure in March, though it has been briefly blocked by the state’s Supreme Courtroom.
Stitt earlier this yr signed a invoice to make performing an abortion a felony crime in Oklahoma, however that measure is just not set to take impact till this summer time, and authorized consultants say it is more likely to be blocked as a result of the Roe v. Wade resolution nonetheless stays the regulation of the land.
The variety of abortions carried out annually in Oklahoma, which has 4 abortion clinics, has declined steadily over the past twenty years, from greater than 6,200 in 2002 to three,737 in 2020, the fewest in additional than 20 years, based on information from the Oklahoma State Division of Well being. In 2020, earlier than the Texas regulation was handed, about 9% of the abortions carried out in Oklahoma had been ladies from Texas.
Earlier than the Texas ban took impact on Sept. 1, about 40 ladies from Texas had abortions carried out in Oklahoma every month, the information exhibits. That quantity jumped to 222 Texas ladies in September and 243 in October.