klahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a Texas-style abortion ban that prohibits the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy.
The bill takes effect immediately, although abortion-rights advocates have already challenged the law in court.
“There will be people who lose access, even if the halt in services is only brief,” said Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates abortion clinics in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
The measure prohibits abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which experts say typically occurs at about six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. Like Texas, the bill allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion for up to $10,000.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed a similar law in Texas to stand.
“Since that day, my colleagues and I have regularly treated patients who are fleeing their communities to seek care,” Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. “They’re taking time off of work, taking time out of school and taking time away from their family responsibilities to get the care that until September 2021 they were able to get safely and readily in their communities.”
Earlier this year, Stitt, a Republican, signed a bill making performing an abortion a felony. That measure won’t take effect until the summer. Before the Texas ban took effect on Sept. 1, about 40 women from Texas had abortions performed in Oklahoma each month, the data shows.
That number jumped to 222 Texas women in September and 243 in October.
The move in Oklahoma came less than a day after a leaked Supreme Court draft sent shockwaves through the country and once again put the issue of abortion at the forefront.
In the draft opinion, which Pol…