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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Oklahoma passes strict abortion ban; services to close

Oklahoma City ( Associated Press) — Oklahoma lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill banning all abortions with a few exceptions, and providers said that as the governor signs it in the latest example of the GOP’s national push, They will stop doing this process. It has been a constitutional right for almost half a century.

Oklahoma lawmakers have already passed half a dozen anti-abortion measures this year, and while abortion providers across the country are prepared for the possibility that the new conservative majority of the US Supreme Court could further restrict the practice.This has been especially the case in Oklahoma and Texas.,

Two of Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics had already stopped providing abortions after the governor signed a six-week ban Earlier this month, a lawyer for her and two other independent clinics said on Thursday they would no longer offer services once the bill was signed. The bill is expected to reach Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk early next week, and first-time Republicans running for re-election have already said they will take a stand on any anti-abortion bills sent by the Legislature. will sign. It will become effective immediately after he signs it.

Rabia Muqaddam, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive, said, “This bill can go into effect at any time, and once it does, anyone can sue clinics, doctors, anyone else involved in performing abortions in Oklahoma.” is.” RITES, which is representing Oklahoma clinics in legal challenges against several proposed new anti-abortion laws.

The bills are part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to reduce abortion rights. This comes based on the opinion of a leaked draft The country’s High Court suggests that judges are considering diluting or reversing the Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nearly 50 years ago.

bill By Collinsville Republican Rep. Wendy Stearman will prohibit all abortions, except in order to save the life of the pregnant woman or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.

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“Do we aim to protect the right to life or not?” Stearman asked his colleagues, mostly along party lines, before the bill was passed on a 73–16 vote.

The bill specifically authorizes doctors to remove a “dead unborn child due to spontaneous abortion” or abortion, or to remove an ectopic pregnancy, a potentially life-threatening emergency that occurs when a fertilized The egg lays outside the uterus, often in the fallopian tubes. and early pregnancy.

With all abortion clinics in the state expected to stop offering the services, it’s unclear where a woman who qualify under one of these exemptions will go to get an abortion because providers say many doctors follow the law. afraid to violate.

The bill also does not apply to the use of Plan B, other morning after pills or any form of contraception.

Since the Bill defines an “unborn child” as a human embryo or embryo that occurs at any stage of conception from fertilization to birth, it is not expected to apply to in vitro fertilization, which occurs when The eggs are fertilized before being transferred to a laboratory. Oklahoma City Fertility Specialist Dr. Eli Reshef said that the woman’s uterus.

“(Bill) does not criminalize what we do,” Rechef said. “No matter anyone’s position on abortion, we are not concerned about a bill harming our particular profession.”

The bill is one of at least three anti-abortion bills sent to Stitt this year. Another abortion bill, similar to the Texas bill passed last year that prohibits the procedure after cardiac activity is detected in a fetus, which experts say is about six weeks, has already gone into effect and is the first in Oklahoma. has reduced practice dramatically since then. Another bill to take effect this summer would make it a crime to have an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. There is no exception in that bill for rape or incest.

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“At this point, we are preparing for the most restrictive environment politicians can create: a complete ban on abortion, without exception,” said Emily Wells, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which has Two stopped providing abortions. Oklahoma clinics went into effect earlier this month after a six-week ban. “This is the worst-case scenario for abortion care in the state of Oklahoma.”

Like Texas law, the Oklahoma bill would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helped a woman get an abortion. After the US Supreme Court allowed that mechanism To remain in place, other Republican-led states sought to imitate Texas’ ban. Governor of Idaho Signed the copying measure earlier in March, although it has been temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court of the State.

After Texas passed its bill last year, the number of abortions performed in that state decreased dramatically, with many women moving to Oklahoma. and other nearby states for process.

There are pending legal challenges to a bill criminalizing abortion in Oklahoma and a six-week Texas ban, both of which can still be stopped, but courts have so far failed to do so.

According to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the number of abortions performed each year in Oklahoma has declined steadily over the past two decades, from 6,200 in 2002 to 3,737 in 2020, the most in more than 20 years. is less. In 2020, before the Texas law was passed, about 9% of the abortions performed in Oklahoma were Texas women.

In the first four months after the Texas law took effect last September, abortions in clinics in the state dropped by an average of 46% compared to the same period last year. But the studies also found a sharp increase in the number of Texas women ordering abortion pills by mail and traveling out of state for abortions.

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