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Oklahoma’s GOP governor signs near-total abortion ban into law

What would a post-Roe United States look like? Look no further than Oklahoma, where a near-total abortion ban has been signed into law.


Oklahoma Republicans had already taken a variety of anti-abortion steps, including approving measures that imposed waiting periods, the imposition of medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and prohibitions on health insurance covering abortions. But as we’ve discussed, GOP legislators went much further last week, approving a near-total abortion ban.

As the Associated Press reported, the state’s Republican governor signed the ban into law yesterday.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Tuesday that makes it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, as part of an aggressive push in Republican-led states across the country to scale back abortion rights.... “We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma,” Stitt said during a signing ceremony for the bill, flanked by anti-abortion lawmakers, clergy and students. “I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

The ban will take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends. Or put another way, the new policy will take effect in August — just weeks after the public sees the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case in which the justices are expected to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In other words, without judicial intervention, abortion rights will effectively end in Oklahoma over the summer. (The new measure includes an exception for life-threatening pregnancies, but no exceptions for rape or incest.)

Circling back to our coverage from last week, 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, “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 was against this backdrop that Oklahoma approve a new abortion ban of its own.

In fact, Oklahoma also appears to be moving forward with a Texas-style abortion ban that would allow private citizens to file lawsuits against doctors who perform abortions — on top of the abortion ban that the governor signed yesterday. That related bill has already passed the state Senate.

All of this comes just three weeks after Idaho Republicans approved an abortion ban of their own, and they have a lot of company: An NBC News’ report explained, “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 precedent. In practice, that precedent appears unlikely to survive past the summer.

And what would a post-Roe United States look like? Look no further than Oklahoma.