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Oklahoma, which claims to be a pro-life state, would rather be a pro-forced birth state. HB 4327, which has passed in the Oklahoma House and Senate, is a near-total ban on abortion, and also a “bounty hunter” law, one that encourages neighbors to report on each other.
Meanwhile, according to Emily Wales, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, more than half the states in this country will want to follow Oklahoma’s example. Abortion rights will return to state laws if and when Roe V Wade is struck down by the Supreme Court.
Following a leaked memo from the Supreme Court, Roe v Wade, which would celebrate 50 years of providing healthcare freedom next year, is in danger. The SCOTUS currently has a majority-conservative court, and while the decision is not official, it is likely that SCOTUS will end federal healthcare protections for women in the near future.
“Unconstitutional” abortion ban headed for Governor’s desk
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s new potential law is unconstitutional, according to Rabia Muqadam, one of the attorneys for the Center for Reproductive Rights. However, the Oklahoma state supreme court has not yet provided an injunction against the law, although it is being fought in court.
HB 4327 will go into effect as soon as Governor Kevin Stitt signs it into law. Governor Stitt has vowed to sign any anti-abortion law that comes across his desk.
Unfortunately, losing reproductive rights will have a vast impact on Black women and Black families. In fact, a Black infant in Oklahoma is twice as likely to die during their first year of life than a White infant.
Oklahoma also ranked 34th in the country for maternal mortality. Once again, Black women are also at greater risk for dying during pregnancy or childbirth than White women.
Oklahoma is pro-life…until the baby is born
Black women also seek abortions more frequently than White women. Planned Parenthood confirmed that citizens seeking an abortion must now travel out of state to seek health care – a financial and practical barrier for all women, but one that impacts Black women more acutely.
Black women are more likely to live in lower socio-economic communities, and have less access to comprehensive healthcare than White women and their families. Black women are less likely to have received thorough reproductive education, putting them at risk for pregnancy-related comorbidities, including gestational diabetes and low birthweight babies.
Women in Oklahoma who are seeking abortion must now travel to either Kansas, New Mexico, or Colorado to receive their healthcare. Those three nearby states still provide access to abortions – for now.
However, Planned Parenthood Great Plains, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Oklahoma ACLU plan to fight on behalf of healthcare freedom in Oklahoma. During a press conference Ms. Wales, president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said, “While this is a dark day, we have a message. To all who need care, we see you.”