For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 12, 2022
SB 612 will have widespread impacts for abortion care—for both Oklahomans and people traveling from out of state seeking abortion care in Oklahoma
Washington, DC — Today, anti-choice Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law a total abortion ban (SB 612). If it goes into effect, the law will effectively shut off access to abortion care in the state, blocking Oklahomans and people traveling there from out of state from accessing the care they need. The ban is set to go into effect in August.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement in response:
“The total ban on abortion signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt is a draconian effort to block people from accessing abortion that will do real harm to Oklahomans and people traveling to the state to access the care they need. The motivations behind the cruel push for bans like these are clear—there is absolutely nothing anti-choice lawmakers won’t do for political gain. Extremists hostile to abortion across the country are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to deny people their fundamental freedom to make their own decisions about their lives and futures.”
SB 612 would be devastating for both Oklahomans and people traveling from out of state seeking abortion care. When Texas’ SB 8—the state’s vigilante enforced ban on abortion at six weeks of pregnancy—went into effect, it effectively shut off access to abortion care in the state, forcing those that can afford it to travel hundreds of miles and cross state lines to access care in other states, including Oklahoma. Now, Oklahomans could face a future where they would have no place left in their state to go to seek abortion care. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a total ban on abortion in Oklahoma could increase the average one-way driving distance of a person seeking abortion care from 18 miles to 181 miles, representing an 886% increase.
It has never been more clear that reproductive freedom is in imminent danger. Oklahoma’s total ban on abortion is part of a broader onslaught of attacks on abortion access across the country as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hand down a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case regarding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe. If Roe fell tomorrow, 28 states are expected to take action to prohibit abortion outright. Of those, 13 states already have “trigger bans” in place, which would ban abortion automatically. The people hurt most by attacks on reproductive freedom are those who already face barriers to accessing abortion care—including women; Black, Indigenous, and other people of color; those working to make ends meet; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; young people; those living in rural communities; and people with disabilities.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.