After Texas Republicans approved their controversial abortion ban, women in the Lone Star State started going to neighboring Oklahoma for reproductive health services. In fact, as The Texas Tribune reported yesterday, “Oklahoma has been scrambling to keep up with the deluge of patients from Texas for more than seven months. The state’s four providers have extended hours, hired additional staff and worked long shifts to absorb more than 600 additional patients a month.”
It’s against this backdrop that Oklahoma is poised to approve a new abortion ban of its own. NBC News reported:
The state House passed a bill Tuesday that would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has said he will sign any anti-abortion rights bill sent to him. If he signs this one, it will go into effect this summer.
To be sure, Oklahoma Republicans have already taken a variety of anti-abortion steps of late, including waiting periods, the imposition of medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and prohibitions on health insurance covering abortions.
But in a bit of a surprise, GOP legislators in the state House went much further yesterday, approving a near-total abortion ban: Those who perform abortions would face up to 10 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
The same bill passed the Oklahoma Senate last year — observers had no idea it would soon be revived on the state House floor — and there is no doubt that the state’s Republican governor will sign it into law.
In other words, without judicial intervention, abortion rights will effectively end in Oklahoma over the summer. (The measure includes an exception for life-threatening pregnancies, but no exceptions for rape or incest.)
Oklahoma is also reportedly moving forward with a Texas-style abortion ban that would allow private citizens to file lawsuits against doctors who perform abortions. That bill has already passed the state Senate.
All of this comes just two weeks after Idaho Republicans approved an abortion ban of their own, and they have a lot of company: NBC News’ report added, “According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization focused on reproductive health rights, 71 proposed bills have been introduced in 28 states this year to outlaw or ban abortions.”
In theory, these measures are at odds with the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade precedent. In practice, the conservative-dominated high court will soon issue a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which the justices are expected to overturn Roe.
And what would a post-Roe United States look like? Look no further than Oklahoma.