OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A leaked document of an opinion draft suggests the majority of the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a Politico report published Monday. If true, the ruling would effectively end protections on abortion rights at a federal level, allowing states to enforce their own laws regarding access to abortion.
Oklahoma has so-called a “trigger law” — a law that is currently unenforceable, but may go into effect upon a change in federal policy — that would severely limit abortion access once a decision is announced.
Planned Parenthood says 26 states have trigger laws that would kick in, including Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Oklahoma’s trigger law makes abortion illegal, but it does include an exemption considering the life of the mother.
A statute from 1910 made abortion a felony in Oklahoma, punishable by two to five years in prison. It, however, has been rendered ineffective due to the federal court decision making a woman’s right to choose legal in 1973.
Lawmakers say the “trigger law” passed last year would revert Oklahoma back to that 1910 law and wipe any laws passed in the last 50 years that protect abortions off the books.
Officials say there are two more laws that would also kick in if the precedent was dismissed.
The newest Oklahoma law prohibits abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which experts say is roughly six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. That bill took effect once it was signed by the governor this week.
A similar bill approved in Texas last year led to a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions performed in that state, with many women going to Oklahoma and other surrounding states for the procedure.
Before the Texas ban took effect on Sept. 1, about 40 women from Texas had abortions performed in Oklahoma each month, the data shows. That number jumped to 222 Texas women in September and 243 in October.
SB612, that became law in August, makes performing an abortion a felony crime in Oklahoma, but that measure is not set to take effect until this summer.
Both of these new Oklahoma laws do allow abortions if the life of the mother is at risk.
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood say the lawsuits they have against those two laws in the Oklahoma Supreme Court would normally fall back on Roe v. Wade to protect abortion access.
The opinion that was leaked Monday night is not final until it’s issued by the court. The draft could evolve before it is formally released. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July.
The number of abortions performed each year in Oklahoma, which has four abortion clinics, has declined steadily over the last two decades, from more than 6,200 in 2002 to 3,737 in 2020, the fewest in more than 20 years, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.