Thursday September 29th, 2022 7:54AM

Oklahoma joins Texas in offering glimpse of "post-Roe" world

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma joined Texas this week to form a region that parts of a nation divided over abortion care might look like if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

While abortion providers across the country have been bracing for the possibility that the high court's new conservative majority might further restrict abortion, that has especially been the case in Oklahoma, where lawmakers have passed a half-dozen anti-abortion measures this year.

A bill signed into law on Tuesday by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is similar to the law passed in Texas last year that led to a marked increase in women going to neighboring states, including Oklahoma, to get abortions. It prohibits doctors from performing an abortion after fetal activity is detected in the embryo, which experts say is typically after about six weeks and before many women even know they are pregnant. And like Texas' law, it is enforced through civil, not criminal, courts and relies on civilians to inform on one another.

Abortion providers in Oklahoma said they are prepared for the law to take effect and have been helping women get appointments at clinics in neighboring states.

“I think something we realized in September (when the Texas law took effect) is that we are already living in a virtual post-Roe world in our region,” said Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates clinics in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

“We have seen people go to extreme lengths to access abortion care: driving all night, doing whatever they can to get the basic health care they need for them and their families. We have been seeing what a post-Roe future looks like in this region of the country already, and it’s unbelievable.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court declined to temporarily stop the law from taking effect, although the court is still considering a legal challenge.

Stitt's signing of the bill, along with the leaked draft opinion suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court is considering weakening or overturning its Roe v. Wade decision, led more than 100 people to protest on Tuesday at the Oklahoma Capitol.

“I honestly and truly never thought we would actually get here," said Sophia Fults, 22, a University of Oklahoma student from Tulsa who held a sign that read: “Keep abortion safe, legal and accessible."

“Honestly, I was just shocked and I'm still kind of shocked and disgusted. So many women are going to be harmed because of this. It's just horrendous."

The new law authorizes abortions if they are performed as the result of a medical emergency, but there are no exceptions for if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Like the Texas law, the Oklahoma bill would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion. 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.

Stitt earlier this year signed a bill to make performing an abortion a felony in Oklahoma, but that measure is not set to take effect until this summer, and legal experts say it’s likely to be blocked because Roe still remains the law of the land.

“One of our main responsibilities in government is to protect life, and that has been our deliberate intention," said state Sen. Nathan Dahm, a Republican who wrote the bill to make abortion illegal. “I believe here in Oklahoma we'll do everything we can to protect life from conception."

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, which were the fewest in more than 20 years, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. In 2020, before the Texas law was passed, about 9% of the abortions performed in Oklahoma involved women from Texas.

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 in September and 243 in October, according to the most recent data available.

Clinic operators in Texas saw about a 40% decrease in the number of abortions performed there after the law took effect, and Oklahoma operators say they expect similar declines, said Zachary Gingrich-Gaylord, a spokesman for Trust Women, which operates clinics in Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas.

“In Texas, we’ve seen that many clinics were able to retain around 60% of their pre-SB 8 patient volume, and it seems reasonable to expect something similar in Oklahoma," Gingrich-Gaylord said, referring to the Texas law by its state Senate bill name. “The primary reason to think that we may see far less volume than that is the chilling effect caused by the (Supreme Court) leak that may add to confusion for patients seeking abortions."

According to state health department data, about 47% of abortions performed in Oklahoma in 2020 were for women who were less than six weeks pregnant.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Oklahoma joins Texas in offering glimpse of "post-Roe" world
Oklahoma has joined Texas this week with new abortion restrictions
5:58PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Smith, Diamondbacks edge Marlins after Bumgarner ejection
Pavin Smith hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 8-7 after left-hander Madison Bumgarner was ejected
5:53PM ( 10 minutes ago )
US quietly expands asylum limits while preparing to end them
Officials say the Biden administration has begun expelling Cubans and Nicaraguans to Mexico under pandemic-related powers that deny migrants a chance to seek asylum, expanding use of the rule even as it publicly says it has been trying to unwind it
5:53PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Live updates | Commander: 'Bloody battles' at steel mill
The commander of the main defending force at the Azovstal steel mill in the strategic Ukrainian port city of Mariupol says Russian troops have broken into the territory of the mill
5:12PM ( 51 minutes ago )
AP sources: Donald Trump Jr. speaks with Jan. 6 committee
The oldest son of former President Donald Trump has met with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol
5:10PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Oath Keeper from NC pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy
A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to conspiring with other members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group to forcefully halt the peaceful transfer of power after President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory
4:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Abortion draft puts unusual public pressure on Supreme Court
The traditionally insular Supreme Court is about to face the full force of public pressure and abortion politics
3:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden showcases deficit progress in bid to counter critics
President Joe Biden is highlighting new figures showing the government’s red ink will grow less than expected this year and the national debt will shrink this quarter as he tried to counter criticism of his economic leadership and growing dismay over inflation going into midterm elections that will decide control of Congress
2:02PM ( 4 hours ago )
Live updates | Ukraine welcomes EU's proposed oil embargo
In a video message posted on Twitter, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the European Union’s decision to propose an embargo on Russian oil
12:56PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Live updates | New York top prosecutor says she had abortion
NEW YORK — New York state Attorney General Letitia James says she had an abortion nearly two decades ago
7:58PM ( 22 hours ago )
Biden blasts 'radical' Roe draft, warns other rights at risk
President Joe Biden is blasting what he calls a “radical” leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v
7:41PM ( 22 hours ago )
Live updates | VP Harris blasts draft Supreme Court decision
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Kamala Harris is blasting the draft U_S_ Supreme Court decision that would overturn federal abortion rights, telling a political action committee audience: “How dare they.”
7:39PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
WHO: COVID continues to decline, except in Americas, Africa
The World Health Organization says the number of newly reported coronavirus cases and deaths continued to fall in the last week, continuing a global decline that first began in March
1:30PM ( 4 hours ago )
Judge: Arizona prisoner psychologically fit to be executed
A judge has ruled that an Arizona prisoner convicted in the 1978 killing of a university student is mentally fit to be put to death next week
12:36PM ( 5 hours ago )
Beijing shuts 10% of subway stations to stem COVID-19 spread
Beijing has closed 60 subway stations as an additional measure against the spread of the coronavirus
10:16AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Health
Live updates | US abortion seekers look to Mexican clinics
Karina Muñoz, who works at a clinic in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, that specializes in women’s health services, says she receives about 100-150 calls per day regarding abortion services
5:16PM ( 1 day ago )
Live updates | Senate Democrats fume over abortion draft
Furious Senate Democrats are vowing to vote on legislation to protect abortion access for millions of Americans
4:58PM ( 1 day ago )
Live updates | New Mexico gov vows to guard abortion access
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who signed a law last year that overturned the state’s long-dormant ban on most abortion procedures, has promised to safeguard local access to abortion services
4:44PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Smith, Diamondbacks edge Marlins after Bumgarner ejection
Pavin Smith hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 8-7 after left-hander Madison Bumgarner was ejected
5:53PM ( 10 minutes ago )
US quietly expands asylum limits while preparing to end them
Officials say the Biden administration has begun expelling Cubans and Nicaraguans to Mexico under pandemic-related powers that deny migrants a chance to seek asylum, expanding use of the rule even as it publicly says it has been trying to unwind it
5:53PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Ukraine: Russia using 'missile terrorism' in wide attacks
Complaining that the West is “stuffing Ukraine with weapons,” Russia is bombarding railroad stations and other targets in an attempt to cut off weapons supplies
5:48PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Blinken tests positive for COVID; has mild symptoms
The State Department says Secretary of State Antony Blinken has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner and related events over the weekend
5:40PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Clevinger impressive in return, Padres edge Guardians 5-4
Mike Clevinger had an impressive first start since undergoing elbow surgery in 2020, and Manny Machado hit a two-run home as the San Diego Padres beat the Cleveland Guardians 5-4 in the first game of a doubleheader
5:40PM ( 23 minutes ago )