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Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Texas-style ban on most abortions

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Texas-style ban on most abortions hours after leak of Supreme Court’s draft opinion revealed it is set to overturn Roe V. Wade decision

  • Oklahoma´s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a Texas-style abortion ban 
  • The bill will make it illegal to abort an embryo after its heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks
  • It would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion for up to $10,000 
  • ‘I want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country,’ Stitt tweeted after
  •  GOP-led states hopeful the conservative U.S. Supreme Court take the historical step to overturn Roe v Wade 
  • A 2021 poll found that 59% of U.S. adults believed abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 39% thought it should be illegal in most or all cases. 

Oklahoma´s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a Texas-style abortion ban on Tuesday that will put a stop to abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.   

It is part of a nationwide push in GOP-led states hopeful that the conservative U.S. Supreme Court will uphold new anti-abortion laws as they prepare to take the historical step to overturn Roe v Wade.

A furore was ignited on Monday night after news leaked out that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling, sparking spontaneous protests across the country and calls from Democrats to vote Republicans down in the mid-terms.

‘I want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country,’ Stitt tweeted after signing the abortion ban bill.

While it does not ban abortion outright, the bill will make it illegal to abort an embryo after its heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks, before many women realise they are pregnant.

The bill takes effect immediately and the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an emergency request to temporarily halt the bill. It would allow private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion for up to $10,000. 

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks after signing into law a bill making it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by up to 10 years in prison on April 12, 2022, in Oklahoma City. Stitt signed a Texas-style abortion ban on Tuesday that prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy on Tuesday May 3, 2022

More than 3 thousand people rally on Foley Square, New York, for abortion rights for women after Supreme Court leak showing that conservative majority of Supreme Court plan to overthrow Wade vs. Roe decision effectively banning abortions in the country

The rally is kick starting a week of protests across the country demanding abortion rights as GOP-led states push a raft of new bills restricting abortion rights in their states

Abortion-rights supporters rally at the State Capitol after Stitt signed the bill restricting abortions to before an heartbeat can be detected in the embryo

Abortion is one of the most divisive issues in U.S. politics and has been for nearly a half century.

A 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of U.S. adults believed it should be legal in all or most cases, while 39% thought it should be illegal in most or all cases.

President Joe Biden said a decision overturning Roe would raise the stakes for voters in November’s heated midterm elections.

‘If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,’ Mr Biden said.

‘And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the house to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.’

Biden is seen on Tuesday in Alabama, visiting a weapons facility to tout U.S. support for the Ukrainian war effort. Before his arrival, he was asked about Roe v Wade

President Joe Biden vowed the White House would be ‘ready’ whenever the Supreme Court did deliver an opinion on Roe v. Wade

Rabia Muqaddam, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights which is representing Oklahoma abortion providers in the case against Stitt’s abortion bill, admitted abortions would now be unavailable in the state after the six weeks. 

‘It’s a short-term loss,’ she said, ‘but we’re hopeful that the Oklahoma Supreme Court will still grant us relief.’ 

The Oklahoma bill authorizes abortions past the six week mark if performed as the result of a medical emergency, but there are no exceptions if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. 

A similar ban signed in Texas last year led to a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions carried out in the state, but saw Texans going to neighbouring states such as Oklahoma instead for the procedure. 

As it stands in the US, abortion can take place until about 24 weeks into pregnancy – but the exact period varies between states. For example, Texas bans abortion after about six weeks but Florida has a 15-week abortion ban. 

Protesters gather, chant and hold signs outside the Supreme Court in Washington Monday night 

Lights burn inside U.S. Supreme Court offices late at night after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito

There were smaller gatherings of anti-abortion protesters at the pro-choice event in Washington DC as well

The number of abortions performed each year in Oklahoma, which has four abortion clinics, has declined steadily over the last two decades, from more than 6,200 in 2002 to 3,737 in 2020, the fewest in more than 20 years, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. 

In 2020, before the Texas law was passed, about 9% of the abortions performed in Oklahoma were women from Texas. But that number has since surged five-fold.

Before the Texas ban took effect on Sept 1 2021, 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.

Dr. Iman Alsaden, the medical director of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said Texas’ law that took effect in September has given their employees an idea of what a post-Roe America might look like.

‘Since that day, my colleagues and I have regularly treated patients who are fleeing their communities to seek care,’ Alsaden said. 

‘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.’

Republican appointed-Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett all voted to strike down Roe with Samuel Alito, Politico noted

The beginning of the original leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito

The leaders of five Democrat committees and governing associations on Tuesday pledged to turn the midterms into a referendum on Roe v Wade, arguing that the leaked Supreme Court draft had ‘dramatically escalated the stakes of the 2022 election’. 

‘The Republican attacks on abortion access, birth control and women’s health care have dramatically escalated the stakes of the 2022 election,’ they wrote. 

‘At this moment of crisis, Democrats are standing shoulder to shoulder with millions of Americans in this fight. And in November, we must elect Democrats who will serve as the last lines of defense against the GOP’s assault on our established and fundamental freedoms.’

The opinion draft – originally obtained by Politico – was written by Justice Samuel Alito, one of the six justices appointed by Republican presidents on the nine-member court

A draft legal opinion, which was leaked to Politico, reveals five Republican-nominated judges – a majority of the court’s nine judges – are in agreement on the issue which would be enough to force a change in the law — though their decision is not final until the ruling is officially published. 

Alito, who was nominated to the court in 2006 by George W Bush, argues that Roe’s ‘reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. Far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.’

But there were few signs that the new ruling will do anything to heal those divisions, with protesters gathering outside the court in Washington DC last night and other American cities.

Department of Homeland Security agents were filmed Tuesday night driving into a crowd of abortion rights activists and shoving them backward as they blocked off the streets in protest of a draft Supreme Court opinion showing that it is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The unidentified agent was just on of several who responded to the scene of Pershing Square

Together, they blocked off the streets declaring the protest an ‘unlawful assembly’

Videos posted to Twitter by Vishal Singh showed a DHS vehicle drive into the crowd in downtown Los Angeles at around 8.40pm local time and DHS cops clashing violently with pro-choice protestors.

In the aftermath, NBC Los Angeles reports, an officer was reportedly injured – and the LAPD ordered a citywide tactical alert. 

The 26 states where abortion will likely become illegal if SCOTUS overturns Roe vs Wade

The 26 states where abortion will likely become illegal if SCOTUS overturns Roe vs Wade after leaked draft opinion showed a majority of justices supported the move

More than half of all US states have some kind of abortion ban law likely to take effect if Roe v Wade is overturned by the United States Supreme Court. 

According to the pro-reproductive rights group The Guttmacher Institute, there are 26 states that will likely make abortions illegal if the Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 ruling.

18 have existing abortion bans that have previously been ruled unconstitutional, four have time limit bans and four are likely to pass laws if Roe v Wade is overturned, the organization found.

The 18 states that have near-total bans on abortion already on the books are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

In addition, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and South Carolina all have laws that ban abortions after the six-week mark. 

Florida, Indiana, Montana and Nebraska, are likely to pass bills when Roe v Wade is overturned, the Guttmacher Institute said.

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin’s bans all have pre-Roe v Wade laws that became unenforceable after the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision – that would kick into effect if the federal legal precedent established in Roe were overturned.

Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas have further bans that will come into effect if the law was overturned. These were passed post-Roe v Wade.

They’re joined by Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming, in passing such laws. 

The states that will limit abortions based on the length of time a patient has been pregnant are Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio.

There are four states that have laws that state abortion is not a constitutionally protected right: Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia. 

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