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'We plan to fight this law': Groups respond to Oklahoma law criminalizing abortions

A Planned Parenthood clinic is seen.(KOKH/FILE)
A Planned Parenthood clinic is seen.(KOKH/FILE)
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Reproductive rights groups respond to Oklahoma signing one of the toughest abortion bills into law on Tuesday.

"We plan to fight this law and we will do everything we can to ensure people can have care here in Oklahoma," said Emily Wales, Interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

The law signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt makes giving an abortion in the state of Oklahoma a felony. Providers could face up to 10 years in prison and be subject to a $100,000 fine.

The law has support from 80% of the state legislature.

State Sen. Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow authored the bill and said it establishes criminal consequences for abortion.

"The intentional taking of an innocent life has consequences. It is criminal and we are no longer going to allow the murder of babies in the womb here in Oklahoma," said Dahm.

Opponents of the new law argue it will only outsource abortions to other states.

"Even if it's not possible for us to provide abortion care at some point in the future, we will be here to offer information, education, and to help patients navigate to other states if they need to do so," said Wales. "Even though the legislature is not treating people who need abortion care, like full citizens of the state, we're here to uplift you and provide care with compassion."

There are six other pro-life bills moving through the state Capitol.

"We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country," said Gov. Kevin Stitt ahead of signing SB 612 on Tuesday. "We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma."

Groups like PPGP plan to fight the law in court.

"The bill that's passed today does not include an emergency clause," said Wales. "We will continue providing abortion care as long as we can. And we'll do what we've always done, which is fight for our patients. We do plan to file litigation and pushback because people deserve care close to home. They shouldn't have to hide in secret and cross state lines to get constitutionally protected care."

Abortion providers in Oklahoma said since strict laws passed in Texas, their clinics are flooded with people coming from out of state seeking treatment.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to stop Texas from nullifying the constitutional right to abortion has emboldened other states to do the same," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

"Oklahoma’s total abortion ban is blatantly unconstitutional and will wreak havoc on the lives of people seeking abortion care within and outside the state," said Northup. "With the Texas six-week ban in place, many people are traveling to Oklahoma to get care. We’ve sued the state of Oklahoma ten times in the last decade to protect abortion access and we will challenge this law as well to stop this travesty from ever taking effect.”


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