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As Texas Sees Abortion Ban, Oklahoma Will Soon Face Its Own Fight

A law in Texas banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy went into effect today after a federal appeals court cancelled a hearing, and the U.S. Supreme Court failed to act on an emergency petition.


Tamya Cox-Touré is the executive director of Oklahoma’s American Civil Liberties Union branch and co-chair of Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice. She said what’s historically been different in Oklahoma is that anti-abortion laws here have been struck down at the state level.


“We have had several anti-abortion laws struck down as unconstitutional by our state courts, and so we don’t have to go through the same paths as the Texas law.”


Oklahoma is facing its own fight over a law similar to Texas's that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Governor Kevin Stitt signed the law in April and it’s set to go into effect Nov. 1.


Cox-Touré said the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit based out of New York, is typically an organization that files suit in Oklahoma over anti-abortion laws. 


“I suspect if the center is going to take any action we should see something in the next couple of weeks. So I think the next step is to see what the center is going to do. The next step for us - the OCRJ as well as the ACLU - is patient reassurance.”


She said since seeing the Texas law passed, some people might be confused about the pending Oklahoma law. 


“They may not realize that law doesn’t have an effective date until November 1. We are reassuring and directing Oklahomans to know that abortion access is still very much legal in Oklahoma,” said Cox-Touré. "There are providers providing every day until they're told not to."


Trust Women clinics in Oklahoma City and Witchita have said their doors are open for Texas patients seeking care. Cox-Touré said Oklahoma has seen an influx of Texas patients before and providers were ready.


The Center for Reproductive Rights didn’t immediately return a request for clarification on its plans for legal action in Oklahoma.