The Oklahoma bill was modeled on Texas’ restrictive ban, which eluded court intervention with a new legal strategy that empowers private citizens to enforce the law.
invoice that Includes exceptions for medical emergencies but not rape or incest, the Oklahoma Senate passed in March. It now goes to Governor Kevin Stitt (right), who is expected to sign it, and it will take effect with his signature.
The House vote was 68 to 12.
“Oklahoma is a very pro-life state, and we want to protect prenatal babies who are in Oklahoma and who are in the world,” said Representative Todd Ross (right), who co-authored the legislation.
The procedure will immediately cut off most Abortion access in the state accommodated nearly half of all Texas patients who were forced to leave their state for abortions due to Texas law.
Many Oklahoma clinics have stopped scheduling abortions in anticipation of the bill. Other clinics are ready to stop their operations at any moment.
“The planning was next to impossible,” said Andrea Gallegos, executive director of the Tulsa Women’s Clinic, an independent abortion clinic that pledged to continue offering abortions until State signed the bill. “We have a completely busy schedule.”
State signed another abortion ban earlier this month that makes performing an abortion a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But abortion rights advocates in Oklahoma see this latest Texas-style ban as a much more immediate threat than its predecessor, which won’t be in effect until the summer. It will also be difficult to challenge the recent abortion ban in court because of the new enforcement mechanism behind the Texas ban, which enables private citizens to enforce the law through civil lawsuits and has so far allowed Texas law to avoid court intervention.
Another Texas-style abortion ban, which would ban the procedure entirely, is also scheduled to vote at Oklahoma House on Thursday. It is widely expected that this bill will also pass.
Oklahoma lawmakers say the wave of anti-abortion legislation is in part a reaction to the recent surge in Texas patients. Of the thousands of patients in Texas who traveled out of state to have abortions from September to December, 45 percent went to Oklahoma, according to the recent study from the University of Texas at Austin.
“There is an emergency in Oklahoma,” said Senate Pro Tempor President Greg Treat (right), the Senate leader who introduced the six-week regime. Ban, referring to the number of abortions that have been performed in Oklahoma since Texas enacted its law.
“It’s disgusting,” Remedy said. “And that’s why we’re doing everything we can to change our laws.”
Several states are not waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision this summer. Two abortion clinics in Kentucky stopped performing abortions for a week in mid-April, after Republican lawmakers passed a blanket package of abortion restrictions that clinics said made it impossible for them to continue with abortion care, a law temporarily banned by the courts.
Lawmakers in 13 states, including Oklahoma, have introduced their own versions of the Texas law, which could go into effect regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision this summer.
Many anti-abortion lawmakers see the Texas strategy as a promising way forward, despite widespread criticism from legal scholars who say it reduces the power of the courts. Since September, the Supreme Court has squandered three chances to overturn the Texas ban, a move some Republicans interpreted as a green light for this type of legislation.
In Missouri, for example, Representative Mary Elizabeth Coleman (right) said she felt new optimism about the prospects for the Texas-style abortion ban she proposed after the Supreme Court announced its decision in December to allow Texas law.
“I thought, ‘Okay, my bill has legs,’” Coleman said of her scale.
Besides Oklahoma, Idaho is the only other state to have successfully passed a Texas-style ban, although several other states, including Missouri’s Coleman Scale, are still moving through the legislature. The Idaho law, which was due to take effect April 22 after being signed into law by Governor Brad Little (right), has been temporarily blocked by the state Supreme Court, pending further review.
Planned Parenthood plans to file a lawsuit against Oklahoma’s latest ban. While the abortion ban in Texas has been heard by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, widely known as the most conservative circuit court in the country, the Oklahoma ban will be lifted through the Tenth Circuit, where judges may be more critical of the law.
“Unless this ban is outlawed, patients will be rejected, people who seek abortions will not have access to basic care in their communities, and loved ones can be prevented from supporting them out of fear of prosecution,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America wrote, In a statement.