"Bans off Oklahoma" rally scheduled for reproductive rights
Senator Judy Eason McIntyre (center) and Representative Emily Virgin listen to fellow speakers at a rally against anti-abortion legislation at the State Capitol on Thursday, May 12, 2011, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
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Oklahoma citizens are demanding lawmakers stop the bans on reproductive rights. On April 5th at 10:00 a.m., leading reproductive justice and rights organizations, providers, and community advocates will hold a rally at the Oklahoma state Capitol, called “Bans off Oklahoma.”

The protest is in response to the seven aggressively anti-abortion bills currently proposed by Oklahoma legislators. One of the bills includes a total ban on abortions after 30 days. 

Speakers include Tamya Cox Touré Executive Director, ACLU of Oklahoma; Emily Wales, Interim President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Great Plains; Rebecca Tong, Co-Executive Director, Trust Women; Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, as well as abortion storytellers and providers from Oklahoma. The public will also have opportunities to voice their opposition to the bills.

Abortion bans affect Black women disproportionately

Limiting reproductive rights affects all people, but Black women in particular. Black women in states with abortion bans often lack opportunities to receive adequate health care. They are also directly impacted by the financial burdens of obtaining an abortion.

According to Cathy Torres, a manager of Frontera Fund, a Texas organization that helps women pay for abortions, “Abortion restrictions are racist. They directly impact people of color.”

Activist Tammy Brown concurs, stating, “As we have seen in Texas and Mississippi where abortion bans are being challenged, it is people of color, low-income people and young people harmed most by these kinds of policies. We cannot stand by and let this continue to happen.”

Additionally, Black women face an extremely high maternal mortality rate, much higher than White women. Black women are over three times more likely to die during pregnancy than White women.   

Meanwhile, Oklahoma politicians seem unconcerned with the effects of abortion bans. Legislators have not scheduled any public hearings on any of the seven anti-reproduction rights bills.

However, the rally will allow Oklahomans to have their say. The public event will take place tomorrow, April 5th at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105. 

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...

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