Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill That Bans Most Abortions

Wendi Stearman, the sponsor of the bill in the Oklahoma House, posted a picture of a newborn baby on Twitter to celebrate the governor’s signing of the law. “The success of this bill is a direct result of the people of Oklahoma letting their representatives know that the citizens of Oklahoma value LIFE,” she wrote. “Keep it up, Oklahoma!”

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Oklahoma House with a vote of 73 to 16, after its proponents, who believe that abortion is murder, spoke in its favor.

“There can be nothing higher or more critical than the defense of innocent, unborn life,” State Representative Jim Olsen, a Republican, said on the House floor at the time.

Abortion providers have warned that the bans in Oklahoma will stress the entire region; after the ban in Texas, many women seeking abortions flooded across the border between the states.

“We are seeing the beginning of a domino effect that will spread across the entire South and Midwest if Roe falls,” said Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Right now, patients in Oklahoma are being thrown into a state of chaos and fear. That chaos will only intensify as surrounding states cut off access as well.”

Planned Parenthood noted that the day after the six-week ban took effect in Oklahoma, the Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic was forced to cancel 35 appointments and send home 10 patients because the pregnancies were too advanced for the clinic to address without breaking the law’s gestational limits .

Andrea Gallegos, the executive administrator at the Tulsa Women’s Clinic, said that it had canceled its abortion appointments for this week in anticipation of the governor’s signature of the new bill. The clinic is working with the Center for Reproductive Rights to file a lawsuit to overturn the ban, but she does not expect the clinic to last long under the current ban.

“Abortions are what we do,” Ms. Gallegos said. “We don’t provide any other type of service.”

In a statement after the bill was passed, Trust Women, an abortion provider, vowed that its clinics in Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan., would remain open to help pregnant women find services in places “wherever abortions remain legal.” The group called the bill a “gratuitous and cruel flaunting of power by anti-abortion legislators.”

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