Listen to this article here

Oklahoma continues to restrict women’s rights to an abortion with several new bills. The Oklahoma Senate recently passed six pieces of legislation limiting a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. 

First up is SB 1503. Modeled after Texas’ restrictive 6-week abortion ban, this bill would effectively eliminate abortion in Oklahoma.

Next is SB 1553, which goes even further than SB 1503. This new piece of legislation bans abortion starting 30 days past a woman’s last menstrual period. 

Additionally, SJR 37 would eliminate a woman’s right to an abortion in Oklahoma entirely. SJR 17, on the other hand, would confer full personhood rights from conception.

These bills actively use government to restrict the rights of women in Oklahoma as the legislation reduces women’s rights to being a vessel that hosts a baby, whether wanted or not.

Women’s rights under attack during Women’s History Month

Meanwhile, the legislation also impacts bystanders. The bans would allow individuals to sue nearly anyone involved in helping a woman procure an abortion. 

Since Texas’ rulings, many women have traveled to Oklahoma for an abortion. In fact, according to the ACLU, some Oklahoma abortion providers have seen a nearly 2500% increase in patients from Texas.

“Oklahoma already has among the worst maternal health outcomes in the country, as well as one of the highest rates of incarceration of pregnant people in the country,” said Rebecca Tong, co-executive director of Trust Women.

“If the framers of this cruel legislation were truly interested in health, justice, or compassion, they would work to ensure that all people had access in their own communities to essential reproductive health care, including abortions,” Tong added.

According to Elisabeth Smith, director of Oklahoma’s Center for Reproductive Rights, “These bills pose an imminent and grave threat to abortion access in Oklahoma. The abortion restrictions will have a domino effect across the country and have the potential to push abortion access out of reach for an entire region.” 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...