AS OKLAHOMA HOUSE PASSES TOTAL ABORTION BAN, HUNDREDS GATHER OUTSIDE STATE CAPITOL IN PROTEST
For Immediate Release: April 5, 2022
If signed by Gov. Stitt, S.B. 612 would ban abortion completely in August
Leading organizations including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, and Trust Women rallied hundreds of reproductive justice, health, and rights supporters
OKLAHOMA CITY — Today, as hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the Oklahoma state capitol to protest a slew of anti-abortion bills that continue to advance this session, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a total ban on abortion in the state by a vote of 70-14. S.B. 612, which passed the state Senate last session, now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has promised to sign any anti-abortion bill that reaches his desk. This is one of seven anti-abortion bills currently moving through the legislature.
At today’s “Bans off Oklahoma” Rally, reproductive health and justice groups — including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, and Trust Women — joined together to speak about the continuing fight for abortion rights and the freedom for people to make their own decisions about their health.
Statement from Rebecca Tong, Co-Executive Director, Trust Women:
“There are difficult times ahead, and we’ve been through so much already. No Oklahoman deserves the type of disconnected and cruel representation that is happening behind the closed doors of the state capitol. But we believe in the power of the people, and we believe in the ability of Oklahomans to rein in this disastrous legislation.
Trust Women’s clinic in Oklahoma City will remain open so long as we can still be of service to the people of Oklahoma. We will not be deterred from providing compassionate health care to our patients–many of whom are our neighbors, colleagues, and family. We must never forget and always insist that abortion care is community care.”
Statement from Emily Wales, interim president, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes:
“Anti-abortion lawmakers have outdone themselves this session, proposing nearly twenty abortion restrictions. Not only have they moved seven anti-abortion bills, including two Texas-style abortion bans, but as we rallied outside today, the House approved a total abortion ban — proving they seek complete control over the bodies and lives of Oklahomans. They are more focused on governing our bodies than addressing real crises, like the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and rising maternal mortality rates. Well, I have a message for every politician trying to limit our freedom and control our futures: Keep your bans off our bodies.”
Statement from Priya Desai, Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice:
“Oklahoma had the opportunity to lead the way in protecting access in the region instead of doubling down on cruel and harmful legislation. These restrictions are rooted in white supremacy, patriarchy, and bigotry. The harm from this legislation will fall the hardest on communities already facing the greatest challenges in our health care system including people of color, immigrants, trans and nonbinary people, rural people, and young people.”
Statement from Tamya Cox-Touré, executive director, ACLU of Oklahoma:
“The only person who should have the power to decide whether you need an abortion is you — no matter where you live, or how much money you make. But Oklahoma is facing an abortion access crisis that poses an immediate threat to our community's health and reproductive freedom. Our state politicians are gearing up for a future without the protections of Roe v. Wade, advancing more than nine anti-abortion restrictions in 2022 alone. These harmful bills are an alarming reminder that the days of access to safe and legal abortion may be numbered, and we must continue to fight to guarantee all people have access to the essential health care they need, including abortion.”
If allowed to take effect, S.B. 612 would be devastating for both Oklahomans and Texans who continue to seek care in Oklahoma. Nearly half of the patients Oklahoma providers are currently seeing are medical refugees from Texas. Now, Oklahomans could face a future where they would have no place left in their state to go to seek this basic health care.
At a critical time when these seven bills are moving through the state legislature with no scheduled public testimony, the experiences shared on the stage at today’s rally highlight the need for greater access to abortion nationwide. Personal testimonies were included from speakers Tamya Cox-Touré, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma; Emily Wales, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains; Rebecca Tong, Co-Executive Director of Trust Women; abortion storytellers; Oklahoma state legislators; and other advocates.
The “Bans off Oklahoma” rally and people’s hearing were held in direct response to abortion access coming under fire in Oklahoma, where dangerous anti-abortion bills, including the total abortion ban passed today, are moving swiftly through the legislature.
Oklahomans’ constitutional rights are at a tipping point. If these dangerous anti-abortion bills are signed into law by the Governor, two of the bills (S.B. 1503, a six week ban, and H.B. 4327, a total ban) would take immediate effect — leaving more than 900,000 Oklahoman women and transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people of reproductive age without access to care in their state. And like all abortion bans, these laws would disproportionately impact Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people with lower incomes, LGBTQ+ people, young people, and people from rural communities.
A recording of today’s event can be found here. Remarks from speakers are available here.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.