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The Oklahoma legislature has attempted to further restricted women’s rights, with a goal to effectively ban abortion for women across the state. S.B. 1503, banning abortion after six weeks, moves to the House for a vote after it passed out of a committee on Wednesday.

It comes on the heels of S.B. 612, which makes providing abortions a felony with a 10-year prison sentence. 

The Oklahoma bills are modeled after Texas’ SB 8, which also banned abortion at six weeks. Many women do not even know they are pregnant at such an early time. 

Oklahoma Governor Stitt so far has approved of the bills restricting women’s rights across the state. He has vowed to sign any such legislation that reaches his desk.

Oklahoma House approves 6-week abortion ban
A person holds flags during the Bans Off Oklahoma Rally on the steps on Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April, 5, 2022. (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP)

Oklahomans rally against bills restricting reproductive rights

Meanwhile, hundreds of women attended a rally against the bills, called “Bans of Oklahoma.” The peaceful protest took place on April 5th at the Oklahoma capitol.

Such restrictions on women’s rights impact all women, but Black women are hit the hardest. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black women account for 38% of all legal abortions across the United States, the highest percentage of any demographic.

Abortion restrictions are dangerous, as well. In countries where abortion is illegal, approximately 30,000 women die from botched abortions each year. 

Unsurprisingly, restrictions on women’s rights also have a racist impact. Black women are more likely than White women to be on Medicaid, which does not provide support for abortions. The cost for obtaining an abortion can be prohibitive for many women of lower socio-economic status. 

Yet, once again, Oklahoma proves itself an unsafe state for women. According to Tamya Cox-Touré, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, “If lawmakers really cared about our communities, they would expand access to quality reproductive health care instead of restricting it.”

Other anti-abortion bills the Oklahoma legislation is also considering: 

  • H.B. 4327, a total abortion ban with a Texas-style private enforcement mechanism.
  • S.B. 1553, a ban on abortion 30 days after a person’s last menstrual period, when few  people know they are pregnant;
  • S.B. 1555, a modification of the state’s trigger ban that would allow pre-Roe v. Wade statutes to take effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, even in part, and asserts that the state could enforce a total ban;
  • S.J.R. 37, a constitutional amendment that would eliminate any right to abortion in Oklahoma;
  • S.J.R. 17, a constitutional amendment that would confer full personhood — and the rights that come with it — from conception;
  • S.B. 1552, a bill funding fake clinics that lie to people seeking abortion.

To contact Governor Stitt regarding such bills, visit the governor’s website, here.

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...