It has been not too long since Texas became the most anti-abortion state in the country — and now Oklahoma is adding to the travails of women in the region.
Due to the ultraconservative Supreme Court’s egregious refusal to block an extremist, religiously rooted bill, abortion is now illegal in Texas after six weeks of gestation, far below when most women even know that they are pregnant. Furthermore, official abortion bounties are being offered, in which ordinary citizens can earn up to $10,000 if they successfully sue an individual for assisting someone in obtaining an abortion.
And while the U.S. Department of Justice has sued the state of Texas over this draconian prohibition, numerous women are desperately seeking alternative abortion options. Some are driving 15 hours from Texas to Oklahoma in order to obtain abortion medication. One Oklahoma clinic noted that “the numbers of calls [we’ve] received from Texans increased from approximately three to five calls per day to between 50 and 55.”
However, this safe haven may soon be out of reach. In April, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law a nearly identical six-week abortion ban that is set to go in effect on Nov. 1. Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s inaction, Stitt held a ceremonial signing for nine anti-abortion bills on Sept. 10. Those present at this signing were several Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are often Christian-based and promote disinformation about abortion and reproductive health care. Among the entities represented was the Oklahoma Pregnancy Resource Center, which is hosted by the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and Hope Pregnancy Centers. Gayla White, director of Hope Pregnancy Centers, proclaimed at the ceremony that it was “an incredible day.”
She has previously described her religious motivations for anti-abortion work: “The Lord gave me the opportunity to share with the mother how God promises to bring good from all things to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.”
Now that Oklahoma is brazenly moving forward with its blatantly religious and anti-woman initiative, other states are sure to follow suit. This will further endanger the health of women throughout the entire country. These actions underscore the need to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would nullify any abortion bans that are anti-science or medically unnecessary. Please contact your member of Congress and make your secular values known.
We can’t let religiously driven governors ride roughshod over women’s rights.