News Abortion

Oklahoma Follows Texas’ Lead With Law to Limit Abortion Access

Teddy Wilson

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill into law Wednesday that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, among other medically unnecessary requirements for clinics in the state.

Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill into law Wednesday that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, among other medically unnecessary requirements for clinics in the state.

SB 1848, sponsored by Sen. Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City), would require doctors who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the abortions are performed. It also directs the state Board of Health to develop standards related to equipment, supplies, and training for clinics.

The legislation is modeled after a Texas law that has forced several clinics in the state to shutter and has caused a public health crisis in the Rio Grande Valley. Louisiana just passed its own version of the legislation, and at least three of the state’s five clinics are expected to close.

In Oklahoma, the new law is expected to close two of the state’s three clinics; Reproductive Services in Tulsa is the only abortion provider that would meet the law’s requirements.

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“We all want to protect women’s health and safety. This law doesn’t do that—which is why Oklahoma’s leading medical experts oppose it,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

As Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, previously explained to Rewire, admitting privileges laws are at odds with best medical practices, and do nothing to improve patient safety. “They are nothing more than smokescreens to their real intent of restricting access to reproductive health-care services,” said Kiesel.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association warned that law will “result in the legislature and unelected bureaucrats at the Department of Health interfering in the physician/patient relationship and crafting more burdensome regulations that … may not reflect medical science or the best interest of the patient.”

“It’s clear the intent of this legislation is to shut down health centers, and we are deeply concerned about what that will mean for women in our state if it happens,” said Anita Fream, CEO at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma.

The law is slated to go into effect on November 1, but, as has been the case in Texas, a legal challenge is expected.

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