While session is winding down, we know that the most important bill has yet to pass –– the budget. The budget is the number one indicator of the State's priorities. We hope the legislature will increase funding to education (including a teacher pay raise), continue to prioritize the Department of Human Services, and increase funding to the department of Health and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Providing comprehensive health care to Oklahomans has to be a top priority if this state is to become the top 10 state Governor Stitt wants it to be.
Even though this has been a tough session for access to safe and legal abortion, our coalition partners are working on some very important bills that will help us move forward:
SB 926 will require all schools to teach consent information during sex education. Yes All Daughters, a group that advocates for healthy relationship education in high schools, supported this bill. This bill has been signed into law.
The Smart Justice Campaign from the ACLU of Oklahoma has worked tirelessly on much-needed criminal justice reform. One of the many bills they supported, SB 252, would reform the bail process in Oklahoma, allowing a judge to consider an individual's complete circumstances when considering bail. This bill is still making its way through the legislature.
OK Policy Institute has taken the lead on ensuring that all Oklahomans have access to health care. Along with other organizations, they have continued to encourage legislators to expand health care and accept federal dollars to decrease the uninsured rate, fully fund hospitals, and improve health outcomes.
We had reason to celebrate last week when the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down an unconstitutional restriction on the abortion pill, passed in 2014. In a case brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Court found that the legislature created unnecessary obstacles for women accessing a medication abortion. This important victory protects access to evidence-based health care for people across our state.
There are just a few more weeks until session ends; we will keep you updated.
Regional Director of Public Policy & Organizing
Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes
"In a 7-1 decision Tuesday, the court ruled against House Bill 2684, which required doctors to follow a medical abortion process approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration. Although the FDA has since updated to a 2016 protocol, HB 2684 still mandated doctors in Oklahoma follow a procedure approved 19 years ago. The state Supreme Court determined that following the 'sub-standard practices' of the 2000 protocol would place a substantial obstacle to a [person]'s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy."
"'We are extremely disappointed that Gov. Stitt decided to sign SB 614, requiring physicians to give patients false and misleading information about medication abortion 'reversal,'' said Tamya Cox-Touré, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes Regional Director of Public Policy and Organizing... The measure makes it a felony to violate the provisions and provides for a fine of $10,000 against a facility that fails to post the required signage."
Anti-abortion measure stalls in Oklahoma House, The Oklahoman
"An anti-abortion bill that would ask Oklahoma voters to specify the state constitution does not protect the right to an abortion will not advance this legislative session. But the bill's author, reinvigorated by a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that protects a woman's right to an abortion, promised to revive the legislation next year, in time for the measure to go to a statewide vote during the 2020 general election."
"The landmark ruling now stands as the law of the land in Kansas with no path for an appeal. Because it turns on the state's Constitution, abortion would remain legal in Kansas even if the Roe v. Wade case that established a national right to an abortion is ever reversed by the US Supreme Court... The Court continued that 'this right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life —decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.'"
Tulsa - OWC Legislative Reception - Oklahoma Women’s Coalition - Thursday, May 16
OKC - Unpacking White Feminism with Rachel Cargle - Women Lead Oklahoma at Oklahoma Contemporary - Saturday, May 18
Tulsa - Empowering Indigenous Allies - Martin Regional Library - Saturday, May 18
Tulsa - 2019 Pride Celebration Weekend - Friday, May 31 - Sunday, June 2
OKC - 2019 Pride Parade & Festival - Saturday, June 22
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