Oklahoma’s ‘Blatantly Unconstitutional’ Abortion Ban

Republican Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma was denounced Tuesday for signing into regulation one of the excessive forced-pregnancy payments within the United States, a regulation pro-choice advocates argue is blatantly unconstitutional and should be challenged.

Stitt signed S.B. 612, which targets healthcare professionals by making it unlawful for them to offer abortions at any stage of being pregnant with solely a slim exception for pregnant sufferers who’re liable to dying except their pregnancies are terminated.

Under the regulation, which is scheduled to enter impact this summer time, healthcare employees who present abortion care may very well be charged with a felony and face as a lot as 10 years in jail in addition to a $100,000 positive.

Stitt and different Republicans have been “emboldened” by the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to cease Texas from enacting its personal forced-pregnancy regulation, often called S.B. 8, final yr, stated Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).

“Oklahoma’s total abortion ban is blatantly unconstitutional and will wreak havoc on the lives of people seeking abortion care within and outside the state,” Northrup stated. “We’ve sued the state of Oklahoma ten times in the last decade to protect abortion access and we will challenge this law as well to stop this travesty from ever taking effect.”

The Supreme Court is anticipated to rule on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban later this yr, and the state has requested the court docket to overturn Roe v. Wade, which affirmed in 1973 that girls in each U.S. state have the constitutional proper to acquire abortion care.

Reproductive rights advocates have warned since S.B. 8 went into impact that the court docket’s right-wing majority is more likely to overturn the ruling, which might nullify any authorized challenges to S.B. 612 in Oklahoma and would guarantee different abortion bans may also go into impact.

“We are at a tipping point for abortion rights nationwide,” tweeted Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

“This ban, like all abortion bans, will harm real people—people who are making a decision that they know will be best for themselves, their lives, their families, and their futures,” Johnson added in an announcement

In addition to S.B. 612, Oklahoma Republicans who management the state legislature are pushing two payments modeled on a Texas regulation handed final yr that took enforcement of its abortion restrictions out of the palms of the state by permitting unusual residents to sue anybody they believed helped a affected person acquire an abortion. Those payments would go into impact instantly if Stitt indicators them into regulation.

“We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” Stitt stated Tuesday.

Advocates in Oklahoma warned that the three anti-choice payments will hurt healthcare not only for 900,000 ladies of reproductive age within the state but additionally for ladies throughout the Great Plains area.

“Oklahoma health centers are currently seeing dozens of patients each day who have left Texas to seek abortions,” stated the group. “Some providers have reported a nearly 2500% increase in Texas patients in the last four months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. And in turn, Oklahomans have started leaving for care in Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas, or even states further afield. If Oklahoma health centers are forced to stop providing abortion, the ripple effect will be felt throughout the region.”

One advocate warned that Oklahoma’s effort to “effectively eliminate” abortion care, within the phrases of S.B. 612 creator state Sen. Nathan Dahm, will solely “push people further to the margins, force people to carry pregnancies that are dangerous to their own health, or take greater risks to find abortion care wherever they can.”

“The people of our region deserve access to essential healthcare in their own communities,” stated Myfy Jensen-Fellows, advocacy director for Trust Women, a ladies’s well being clinic in Oklahoma City. “No one should have to travel out of state to access abortion care. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy that they do not want, or that is dangerous to their health.”

The White House responded to Stitt’s resolution Tuesday by calling on the U.S. Congress to guard abortion rights in each state by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which might defend healthcare professionals’ proper to offer abortions and sufferers’ proper to recieve care.

Passage of the WHPA “would shut down these attacks and codify this long-recognized, constitutional right,” stated White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

The U.S. House handed the WHPA final yr, however right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin joined each Republican senator in blocking the laws final month.

“Oklahoma’s extreme law banning abortion is just one more reason we need federal protections for the right to access abortion,” stated the Pro-Choice Caucus in Congress Tuesday.

Physicians for Reproductive Health (PRH) stated it was “absolutely disgusted” by Stitt’s signing of S.B. 612 and his declare that he was approving the invoice in assist of “families.”

“When people have access to abortion, families and communities thrive,” tweeted PRH. “There is a direct tie between abortion bans and devastating maternal health outcomes. Abortion bans are never about safety. They’re about coercion and control.”

Republished from Common Dreams (Julia Conley, workers author) below Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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