For Immediate Release
Members of the Oklahoma Reproductive Health Coalition Oppose Anti-Choice Bills
Tulsa, OK –Members of the statewide Oklahoma Reproductive Health Coalition join together to oppose several pieces of proposed legislation: HB 1571, HB 1888, HB 1970 and SB 547. The coalition is asking the public’s help to educate legislators on the harmful effects these bills would have on the women of Oklahoma.
Community organizations, faith groups and reproductive health advocates are joining together to ask the Oklahoma Senate to vote no on pending legislation which would cause unconscionable effects on women’s health. Groups include Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Oklahoman Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Oklahoma Health Equity Initiative, Mental Health Association in Tulsa, National Organization for Women, Oklahoma Alliance, Sweet Adeline International, Trust Women, Youth Services in Tulsa, Reproductive Services, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and Fellowship Congregational Church.
“Oklahoma cannot afford to spend one more dime on lawsuits to protect Oklahomans against outrageous laws passed to take away a woman’s right to control her own fertility,” said Nancy Kachel, Reproductive Health Coalition organizer and Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma Chief Executive Officer. “We continue to urge the Oklahoma legislature and residents to reject these destructive proposals.”
The health and advocacy groups characterized several bills as dangerous to reproductive freedom in Oklahoma, including:
HB 1888 which would ban abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy regardless of an individual woman’s circumstances and health needs. This bill would deprive a woman of her ability to make an extremely personal medical decision, and hand it over to politicians.
HB 1970 would turn back the clock on medical practice, making it a crime to provide safe, legal medical abortion under a protocol that is based on scientific, medical evidence, denying women in Oklahoma access to what is standard medical practice nationwide – and what they and their physician believe is the best abortion procedure for them.
SB 547 would remove important exceptions in existing law that currently allow rape and incest victims to obtain insurance coverage for abortion – this bill would actually make it impossible for insurers to offer insurance coverage for abortion in the cases of rape and incest unless the woman bought a separate policy just for abortion before the crime occurred. This bill would impose a serious penalty on these women, demonstrating once again that the Oklahoma legislature does not care about women.
HB 1571 appears to be an attempt to amend Oklahoma statutes to declare that life begins at fertilization and to consider “persons” from fertilization to have inalienable rights: The language of this bill is vague but could be read to affect the availability of abortion, contraception and assisted reproductive technologies, like In-Vetro Fertilization, in the state of Oklahoma, as well as impacting hundreds if not thousands of state laws.
“Instead of focusing on creating jobs and jump-starting the economy, the Oklahoma legislature has yet again spent the taxpayers valuable time and money pursuing legislation that undermines women’s access to reproductive health care,” Kachel continued. “We want legislators to consider legislation that would address the serious issues facing Oklahoma women, such as increasing access to contraception and to comprehensive sexuality education.”