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Abortion advocates' lawsuit challenging Oklahoma abortion bans

Kevin Stitt
Posted at 12:02 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 18:27:50-04

TULSA, Okla. — Abortion providers and advocates filed a lawsuit Friday challenging Oklahoma's bans on abortion.

Oklahoma is one of multiple states with trigger laws that took effect following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overrule Roe v. Wade last week.

The lawsuit filed Friday with the Oklahoma Supreme Court aims to strike down two bans — one passed in 1910 and another passed this year and scheduled to take effect in August. Planned Parenthood Great Plans and local advocates for abortion asked the court to put an emergency order in place that would block the bans pending further litigation.

Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains released the following statement to go along with Friday's filing:

“Today, we’re challenging overlapping and contradictory bans on abortion care, including one ban that took effect when William Howard Taft was president and was invalidated before Richard Nixon resigned. Oklahomans deserve abortion access here at home that’s consistent with modern history and modern medicine. Today’s standard of care – as defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and every credible medical organization – includes abortion services. The government got out of the business of blocking care 49 years ago, and our hope is that Oklahoma’s Supreme Court will recognize what the U.S. Supreme Court seems determined to ignore: the state has no place in private medical decisions.”

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor certified the state's abortion laws following the change in federal law, outlawing abortion in most cases. Senate Bill 612, which takes effect in August, does not account for cases of rape or incest.

“There are now multiple cases pending before the Oklahoma Supreme Court asking them to restore abortion access in the state, and we hope the court will rule as soon as possible given the tremendous harm that is being inflicted on Oklahomans each day these bans remain in effect,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “As more and more states ban abortion in the region, it is all the more imperative that this court act swiftly to rule under its own constitution and restore abortion access in the state. The people of Oklahoma have already gone too long without access.”

O'Connor and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt held a news conference last week celebrating the ban on abortion. Stitt has signed all anti-abortion legislation that's made it to his desk during his time as governor.

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