As thousands rallied in Oklahoma against a Texas-style abortion ban, news reached the protestors that another anti-abortion bill, one that entirely bans abortion in the state, passed the Oklahoma legislature. The bill will not only have a devastating impact on Oklahomans, but Texans that have been traveling to the state for care.
After Texas passed Senate Bill 8, red states around the country took notice. A bill modeled after SB 8 has already passed in Idaho and in Oklahoma, residents were gearing up for their own version. The “Bans off Oklahoma” rally brought together a diverse group of voices against that proposed legislation at the Capitol in Oklahoma City.
Senate Bill 612, which makes it a felony to perform an abortion in Oklahoma and could result in a 10-year prison sentence, actually passed the state senate in the last legislative session. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma state house passed SB 612, nearly simultaneously with the rally.
The bill is awaiting the signature of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. He has previously said he will sign any anti-abortion legislation that reaches his office. There are also several other anti-abortion bills, including one with the same vigilante enforcement of SB 8, making their way through the legislature.
After the rally, the Signal spoke with Emily Wales, Interim President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. According to Wales, the bill was put on the agenda Monday, seemingly to time with the “Bans off Oklahoma” rally.
“It didn’t really come as a surprise that they were putting it on the same time we were having this rally,” said Wales. “Its’s not shocking at all to me that legislators who are opposed to abortion care wanted to make their own noise at the same time that they were being pushed from outside the Capitol to do the right thing.”
After SB 8 was signed by Governor Abbott in September, Oklahoma absorbed the most patients from Texas seeking abortion care. About half of the patients at clinics in Oklahoma were from Texas.
A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).