FFRF: Abortion bans in Oklahoma, other states are not OK

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Everything is not OK when it comes to the state of abortion abortion rights in the United States.

Oklahoma is the most recent state to inflict injury on Roe v. Wade’s fundamental protection of the right “to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion” into intimate reproductive decisions. Everyone who cares about secularism, human rights, civil rights and women’s rights should be distressed and fighting mad over the latest assault on abortion access in the United States. 

Yesterday, April 12, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law an egregious abortion ban that makes it illegal to perform an abortion in Oklahoma at any stage, even in cases of rape and incest. Stitt described it as “an honor” to pass a bill that outlaws all abortions except in the rarest cases of “medical emergency.” This ruthless new law would penalize abortion care providers with $100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison if they perform an abortion. Unless it is blocked under legal challenges, it will go into effect this summer. 

This cruel abortion ban is especially perilous because Texan women have been fleeing to Oklahoma for abortion care since Texas passed its six-week abortion ban on Sept. 1. In fact, a report found that 45 percent of Texans traveling out-of-state for abortion care went to one of the three now-endangered abortion clinics in Oklahoma, which have seen a 2,500 percent increase in Texas patients.

FFRF praises the White House’s strong condemnation of this ban, which urges the recalcitrant Senate to finally pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. FFRF has been a long champion for the act, which would repeal abortion bans. The Freedom From Religion Foundation submitted formal testimony in support of this act, and thanks to the work of many activist citizens, including FFRF members, it passed the House (but failed in the Senate). Contact your senators using FFRF’s action alert system. 

The unrelenting spate of anti-abortion bans being passed by conservative-led states is due to the anti-abortion strategy of getting as many legal cases before the extremist U.S. Supreme Court as possible. The assumption is that, with the replacement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Catholic ideologue Amy Coney Barrett, the final nail has been pounded into the coffin in terms of an anti-abortion takeover of the high court. That court is ruling on a 15-week ban in Mississippi later this year. Tellingly, it refused to intervene after Texas passed the first abortion-ban-and-bounty law, which banned abortion care in that state after six weeks of pregnancy. After the court refused to do its duty and uphold the clear precedent of Roe v. Wade in that instance, Idaho has followed suit with a copycat ban, and many other conservative states have already or are considering passing bans on abortion care at six or 15 weeks. All of these bans are being challenged in cases, with the buck ultimately  stopping at the Supreme Court.

“This fundamental right is endangered by the unrelenting religious anti-abortion lobbies and their sycophants in statehouses,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Our country will not be able to hold onto basic human and civil liberties, including the right to contraception, abortion, and even to vote, unless we see urgent action to rebalance the federal judiciary that Trump has reshaped to pander to Christian nationalists.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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