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Oklahoma banning abortion will exacerbate a crisis

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Oklahoma, the state to which droves of Texans fled to get an abortion is itself obvious shortly before the abortion ban. dr During her shift last week, Ghazaleh Moayedi, a contractor in both states, found the forthcoming legislation weighing on her colleagues’ minds. “They took care of people during the fallout,” she told Jezebel Thursday. “It hit her so differently that this will now be her home too. I kept turning corners and found employees crying in corners just trying to really emotionally process what they are going to be going through.”

In spring 2020, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott doubtfully closed dr Moayedi, who has been performing abortions in Texas since 2004, realized it was time to get a license in neighboring Oklahoma. For two years she has had to watch as fundamental rights in both federal states slowly fade away. Oklahoma lawmakers are now pushing for no less than three bills that would ban abortions at six weeks or less and close the Texan sanctuary. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt will definitely sign them, and they go into effect right away. Abortion access is rapidly being decimated in the South and Great Plains, and in a few months the hard-line Supreme Court will rule on such a case could tip over Roe v. calf.

Abortion providers know firsthand that banning the procedure doesn’t remove the need: Many people will leave the state — at least those who can gather the resources and coordinate the trip — or Order tablets online. Planned Parenthood released data last month showing Oklahoma health centers closed between Jan 2,500 percent increase abortion patients in Texas compared to the previous year – a veritable tide. Put another way, more than half of the patients at her Oklahoma clinics were Texans.

Rebecca Tong, the co-executive director of Trust Women, which has clinics in Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas, has seen how a state ban on treatments impacts the entire region. “People shouldn’t have to work so hard to get access to basic health care,” she told me, adding that she sees people “driving eight hours for a pill or a 10-minute procedure.”

Shop stewards can’t keep up with the demand, Tong said. “Everyone will be delayed by at least two weeks but most likely more. We’re not easy to reach at the moment. People have to call multiple times,” Tong said. As a result, people are having their abortions later in pregnancy than they normally would, and it’s pretty obvious who the laws affect most. “When you come into the clinic, it’s very clear how racist these laws are,” she said. “Who’s waiting to be seen because they’re progressing, awaiting surgery, needing extra dilation… and who’s coming in early in their pregnancy and having a medical abortion?”

Patients are also being pushed beyond the limits of where Tong’s clinics can see them. “They call us 18 weeks after drinking [genetic] Tests and by the time we can see them, it will be too far,” Tong said. Both Oklahoma and Kansas ban abortion after 20 weeks. So when people hit the border, they are forced to travel to yet another state. “It is concerning everybody. It’s definitely a massive ripple effect.”

Even if the Supreme Court doesn’t overturn roe It has already signaled in dramatic fashion that it will allow states to further restrict access to abortion at will. There’s “continued erosion, so slow you don’t even notice it,” Tong said. First “it’s the people of Texas who have to leave their state to seek medical care, then it’s the people of Oklahoma, then it’s this whole corridor in the center of our country.”

On another recent work trip to Oklahoma City, Dr. Moayedi not only included people from Texas and Oklahoma, but also from Kansas, Louisiana and Arkansas. And soon both Texans and Oklahomans will start driving people elsewhere. “Only the Texas closure has impacted appointment availability across the region,” she said. “The nation does not have the capacity to bring down more states.”

Tong agrees, “There is no way for the current clinics to record what is happening. The math doesn’t work.”

And she can’t help but think of another crisis. “Our clinics feel like island nations in climate change,” Tong said. “We’re trying to get all the lifeboats together, all life jackets on. So that’s how it feels right now – especially in this region as an independent abortion clinic – you’re floating out there alone trying to see as many patients as possible and there just isn’t enough time and not enough resources.”

Oklahoma’s only state abortion fund, the roe fund, also does not have enough resources. Jan Massey, the fund’s treasurer, said that since passage of SB 8 they’ve doubled their pledges to low-income Oklahomanes, but they’re still short of money through the middle of the month. With clinics filling up quickly, the fund has helped people travel to New Mexico, Colorado and Arkansas. Arkansas is considering a six-week, Texas-style ban, and the wave of traveling patients will continue to mount.

dr Moayedi tries to plan for this uncertain future. She now has medical licenses in 16 other states and is opening private practice on the assumption that if the Supreme Court overturns roe, Texas bans abortion. She will treat miscarriages in Texas, provide telemedicine abortion pills to people in other states, and perform out-of-state abortion procedures.

It’s a far cry from her original plan as someone who went to medical school specifically for abortion care in Texas, but no one comes to save her community and she has to conform.

“I don’t really think the rest of the nation can really understand it until you’ve lived through it to know what it’s like — it’s a desperate feeling, it’s a hopelessness,” she said. “And that reality is incredibly painful to know, like, ‘Shit — we don’t actually have any control.'”

https://jezebel.com/a-massive-ripple-effect-oklahoma-banning-abortion-wi-1848745388 Oklahoma banning abortion will exacerbate a crisis

Andrew Schnitker

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