Oklahoma Abortion Providers Brace For Immediate Shut Downs From Pending Laws
The Oklahoma legislature sent two abortion bills to Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, that would take immediate effect if signed — as he is expected to do. One is modeled after Texas' ban on the surgical procedure at roughly 6 weeks, with a private enforcement provision that has proved difficult to challenge in court. Abortion providers have already asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to block the likely law.
Oklahoma Approves Laws That Could Immediately End All Abortion Access
Oklahoma’s legislature has passed two Texas-inspired laws that would allow civil lawsuits against anyone who might “aid or abet” any abortion. Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has indicated he plans to sign both bills, which would take effect immediately. One bill, House Bill 4327, would outlaw virtually all abortions, with an exception if the pregnant person’s life were in immediate danger; pregnancy resulting from rape or incest is only an exception if it has been reported to law enforcement. After amendments were added to it, HB 4327 will go back to the House, which has already passed a version of the bill. The other bill, Senate Bill 1503, would create penalties for abortions done after six weeks of pregnancy. It’s not clear when Stitt will sign the two bills. But clinics are preparing for an immediate shutdown of services — making Oklahoma the only state in the country where abortion is completely inaccessible. (Luthra, 4/28)
Oklahoma House Sends Texas-Style Abortion Ban To Governor
The abortion bill, dubbed the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, prohibits the procedure once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which experts say is roughly six weeks into a pregnancy. 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. Like the Texas law, the Oklahoma bill would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion for up to $10,000. After the U.S. Supreme Court allowed that mechanism to remain in place, other Republican-led states sought to copy Texas’ ban. Idaho’s governor signed the first copycat measure in March, although it has been temporarily blocked by the state’s Supreme Court.(Murphy, 4/29)
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt To Decide On Texas-Style Abortion Ban
Saying SB 1503 could cause "irreparable harm," to patients and health care workers, abortion providers asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to block the bill from taking effect should it become law. Although similar legal challenges were unsuccessful in Texas, providers expressed optimism there is enough precedent for Oklahoma's high court to support their request for an emergency order. “The Oklahoma Supreme Court has repeatedly found that the state Legislature’s extreme attempts to restrict abortion are unconstitutional, and these bans are some of the most extreme yet,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. ... The lawsuit is backed by Planned Parenthood, the Tulsa Women's Reproductive Clinic, the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice and abortion provider Dr. Alan Braid. The groups also filed a lawsuit in district court against a new law set to take effect in August that would classify performing an abortion as a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in jail. (Forman, 4/28)