OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s been law in Texas since last September but now, but now SB1503 is law in Oklahoma. The Texas-style “heartbeat” abortion legislation was signed by Governor Kevin Stitt Tuesday with an emergency clause attached to make it effective immediately. So what does that mean for abortion access today in Oklahoma?
“We did pause our services in terms of our abortion services both in Tulsa and Oklahoma City,” said Anamarie Rebori-Simmons of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
“A lot of patients who we would have been able to see yesterday, we are no longer able to see in our clinic in Oklahoma City today,” said Zachary Gingrich-Gaylord with Trust Women clinics of Oklahoma.
On Tuesday, Governor Kevin Stitt signed SB 1503, also known as the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, into law. The Texas-style “heartbeat” bill opens up physicians to civil lawsuits if they perform abortions after cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo – around six weeks of pregnancy.
“Oklahoma has made it clear for some time that we are a pro-life state and the newborn has the same right to life,” said Rep. Cindy Roe, R-Lindsay.
Efforts to halt the law from taking effect have been, for now, shot down.
The Oklahoma State Supreme Court said no to an injunction while waiting to hear suits filed against the law.
That means the “heartbeat act” is law in Oklahoma right now.
“We are shifting our efforts to provide other kinds of support for people still seeking abortion but are beyond six weeks,” said Gingrich-Gaylord.
Officials say they are trying to offer education and help patients schedule appointments at out-of-state clinics.
“Our patient navigation team has been working around the clock really to help our patients see where they can access care even though that’s in a state hundreds of miles away at this point,” said Rebori-Simmons.
Some Oklahoma lawmakers believe some states will encourage travel.
“There will be some states, like probably Colorado, that push for abortion vacations to try to get people to come out there to get their abortion in Colorado,” said Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.
“It’s absurd on its face. We believe that people deserve access to safe, essential, routine health care in their own communities. To say that this is not a challenge for people to access care, that it’s a vacation, is incredibly misleading and uninformed,” said Gingrinch-Gaylord.
Despite some concerns, lawmakers KFOR talked to say it is highly unlikely that there will be any legislation to prevent Oklahomans from going across state lines to access abortion care.
Officials with the ACLU say they are filing a motion to reconsider the injunction decision by the State Supreme Court.