Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Pro-choice protest at Supreme Court

Reproductive rights advocates protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on November 1, 2021. (Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Reproductive Rights Advocates Brace for Oklahoma's Near-Total Abortion Ban

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is expected to sign a bill that would punish abortion providers with 10 years in prison or a $100,000 fine.

Brett Wilkins

Reproductive rights advocates on Tuesday braced for Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma's Republican governor, to sign what's been described as a "worse than Texas" abortion ban that would make performing the medical procedure at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to a decade in prison.

"These extremist politicians are willing to turn their own constituents into medical refugees."

The New York Times reports the GOP-controlled Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 70-14 to approve Senate Bill 612, which would imprison healthcare providers who perform abortions at any time "except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency" for 10 years or fine them $100,000. The measure, which was passed by the state Senate last year, heads to the desk of Stitt, who has pledged to sign "every piece of pro-life legislation" he receives.

"If allowed to take effect, S.B. 612 would be devastating for both Oklahomans and Texans who continue to seek care in Oklahoma," reproductive rights groups including the ACLU of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice said in a statement.

"Nearly half of the patients Oklahoma providers are currently seeing are medical refugees from Texas," the groups added. "Now, Oklahomans could face a future where they would have no place left in their state to go to seek this basic healthcare."

S.B. 612 has been compared to S.B. 8, the Texas law banning abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy and incentivizing private citizens with a $10,000 reward plus legal fees for successfully suing abortion providers or anyone who "aids or abets" the procedure. The law allows no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

However, critics say the Oklahoma bill is even more severe than the Texas ban.

"We are actually going to be worse than Texas because this bill would prohibit abortion access as soon, at conception, whereas Texas allows for a six-week abortion ban," Tamya Cox-Toure, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, told KTUL.

Cox-Toure said that "Oklahoma providers were seeing an increase of almost 2,500%" in people seeking abortions "because of Texas patients coming to Oklahoma for care."

Myfy Jensen-Fellows of the Trust Women Foundation told KTUL that S.B. 612 "will make it difficult not only for people in Oklahoma, not only people in Kansas and Texas, but the entire region."

S.B. 612 is one of numerous state-level attacks on reproductive rights, and comes as the constitutional right to abortion established nearly half a century ago in Roe v. Wade is imperiled by the United States Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority.

State-level abortion bans like S.B. 12 have spurred calls for the U.S. Senate to pass the House-approved Women's Health Protection Act, which would codify the right to abortion nationwide.

Responding to the Oklahoma bill, Planned Parenthood Action tweeted, "These extremist politicians are willing to turn their own constituents into medical refugees."

"Abortion is healthcare," the group added. "And we'll keep fighting for your care, no matter what."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'The Problem is Corporate Greed, Boss': Bezos Blasted for Defense of Big Oil Price-Gouging

'Bezos scared," said one progressive economist after the world's second-richest person went to bat for Big Oil.

Jon Queally ·

Bodycam Footage Shows Ohio Police Shooting Jayland Walker 60+ Times

"The Department of Justice needs to step in to investigate immediately," said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner.

Common Dreams staff ·

'Impeach Justice Clarence Thomas' Petition Nears 1 Million Signatures

"He has shown he cannot be an impartial justice and is more concerned with covering up his wife's coup attempts than the health of the Supreme Court," reads the petition.

Jake Johnson ·

'Tipping Point of No Return' Feared as Amazon Rainforest Fires Surge

"Up to now, the Biden administration has only legitimized the Brazilian government's anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental agenda," said Greenpeace USA.

Jake Johnson ·

Biden Urged to Embrace Windfall Tax as Exxon Says Profits Doubled in Second Quarter

"It's time for the president to demand that Congress pass a windfall profits tax on Big Oil and use the revenue to provide rebates to consumers NOW!" wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo