OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Just one day after Texas’ six-week abortion ban went into effect, several reproductive rights groups filed a lawsuit to challenge five new abortion laws passed in Oklahoma this year that are set to take effect Nov. 1.
By the end of Oklahoma’s first regular session of the 58th Legislature, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law multiple bills to restrict choice and abortion access in Oklahoma.
- House Bill 2441 bans abortions if an unborn fetus has a detectable heartbeat. If a doctor performs an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, then that doctor could be charged with murder.
- House Bill 1102 classifies abortion as “unprofessional conduct” by a doctor under Oklahoma statutes and revokes the medical license of doctors who perform abortions deemed not medically necessary to preserve life or prevent irreversible impairment of a patient’s major bodily function.
- House Bill 1904 mandates that only board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists can perform abortions.
- Senate Bill 918 restores Oklahoma’s prohibition on abortion if Roe v Wade is overturned.
- Senate Bill 778 and Senate Bill 779 provide safeguards surrounding the use of abortion-inducing drugs.
“The Oklahoma Supreme Court has found time and again that the state legislature’s extreme attempts to restrict abortion are unconstitutional,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “If allowed to take effect, these laws would end abortion access in Oklahoma, forcing patients to travel great distances and cross state lines to get essential health care. It’s unbelievable that in the midst of a global pandemic, Oklahoma’s lawmakers would have people drive hundreds of miles to access abortion services. They should be focusing on containing the spread of COVID-19 and saving the lives of people in their state instead of taking away their citizens’ constitutional rights.”
Some Senate Republicans said with the conservative shift in the U.S. Supreme Court, some of these bills are meant to challenge national abortion laws.
“It’s not just Oklahoma fighting for the lives of the unborn, there are plenty of other states introducing similar legislation, but ultimately we see some of these bill before the Supreme Court, I believe,” said Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.
Now, the plaintiffs are asking the court to block the laws before they are scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2021.
“Oklahoma politicians wasted no time attacking access to abortion this year. Instead of focusing on ways to improve and expand access to health care services during a global pandemic, they passed laws designed to make abortion nearly impossible to get in the state. And to that we say: we’ll see you in court,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Planned Parenthood is always going to fight for our patients and their right to safe, legal abortion. And during what’s been the worst state legislative session for proposed abortion restrictions since Roe was decided, this year is no different. All patients deserve better from their lawmakers, and we’re here to fight for them.”
The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dechert LLP, and Blake Patton on behalf of the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic, Dr. Alan Braid, Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, and Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.