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Abortion providers in Oklahoma vow legal challenge as governor takes 6-week ban into effect

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Oklahomathe Republican governor Kevin Stitt – who pledged to “forbidden abortion‘ in the state – has signed into law a measure banning six-week abortions before many women know they are pregnant. The law comes into effect immediately.

The measure mirrors a neighboring law Texaswhere severe abortion access restrictions have led to a dramatic increase in Oklahoma’s abortion supply in recent months.

Like Texas law, Oklahoma’s measure relies on citizen enforcement, which allows people to sue abortion providers, or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion, for up to $10,000.

abortion rights Lawyers and civil rights groups have pledged to challenge Oklahoma law; A judge has denied a request for an injunction blocking the law, which is now effective immediately.

Oklahoma abortion providers are already reeling from a slew of abortion restrictions approved by GOP lawmakers, including a bill that makes abortion a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, which is due to come into force in August.

The laws follow a leaked draft The US Supreme Court’s statement that the Court’s conservative majority will reverse the landmark 1973 ruling Deer vs Wade Enshrining the protection of the Constitution for abortion treatment, which will likely result in statewide bans on the procedure.

Oklahoma’s action comes in a wave of anti-abortion legislation from Republican lawmakers across the US, emboldened by the expected Supreme Court ruling that could trigger the so-called activation “Trigger bans” in at least 16 states and other anti-abortion laws in more than half the country.

“There is power in calling these attacks what they are: a horrific plan to dismantle the rights of more than half the people of this country,” said Emily Wales, interim president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, in one Statement shared with The Independent.

“Over the past eight months, we have seen the desperation of Texans as they travel to our centers in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas,” she said. “The same question we keep hearing from patients – ‘Why do I have fewer rights than my neighbors?’ – soon to be a nationwide reality. We will never stop caring for, fighting for or supporting our patients.”

After the Texas law went into effect in September 2021, Planned Parenthood’s facilities saw a massive increase in the number of patients from Texas.

The Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City was “inundated” with patients from Texas seeking access to abortion treatment, according to Myfy Jensen-Fellows, the group’s head of advocacy.

dr Iman Alsaden, medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said during a May 3 briefing that clinics have seen patients in the state “have gone to extreme lengths to gain access to abortion care” and have “done everything to get basic health care for them and their families.”

“They are taking time off from work, taking time off from school, and taking time off from their family commitments to receive the care they were able to bring safely and easily to their communities through September 2021,” said Dr . Alsaden during a May 3 briefing. “Every time I see a patient from Texas … I also think of those who don’t make it to our clinics.”

​​Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice have filed common lawsuits to block Oklahoma’s latest laws.

“These abortion bans will make access to abortion unattainable for many communities that already face often insurmountable barriers to health care, including black and brown communities, low-income communities and people living in rural areas,” said Tamya Cox- Touree, co-chair of the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice.

“These are the same communities that have been hardest hit by the maternal health crisis in our country and in our state,” she said said in a statement Announcing the legal challenges. “The legislators who enacted these bans don’t care about access to health care and we cannot allow this law to go into effect.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/oklahoma-abortion-ban-planned-parenthood-b2071030.html Abortion providers in Oklahoma vow legal challenge as governor takes 6-week ban into effect

Bobby Allyn

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