Skip to content Skip to footer

Oklahoma GOP Advances Bills That Would Ban Emergency Contraception

“I believe that there is an opportunity for tracking women,” one Democratic Representative said.

People gather to protest the first anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs v Women's Health Organization case in Columbus Circle in Washington D.C., on June 24, 2023.

A GOP-sponsored bill in Oklahoma, HB 3216, passed a legislative hurdle on Wednesday when it passed out of committee. HB 3216 would ban emergency contraception in the state and create a state database of people who have had an abortion.

“If the bill doesn’t get changed with the current wording then IUDs and Plan B could be inaccessible to women,” said State Rep. Trish Ranson (D).

Ranson also noted that she found it “highly concerning” that the legislation would seemingly allow the state to “track” people who have abortions. “I believe that there is an opportunity for tracking women. I believe that there is a major privacy issue that we should be concerned about,” she said.

Oklahoma currently has a near-total ban on abortion, permitting the procedure only under exceptionally restricted circumstances. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the state’s abortion policies are currently classified as “most restrictive.”

The bill, introduced by Republican State Rep. Kevin West, was crafted with input from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)-designated hate group, after the state Supreme Court ruled that two recent anti-abortion laws were unconstitutional.

“Rep. Kevin West said himself that the current language in his anti-abortion bill, HB 3216, includes preventing access to IUDs and ‘over the counter”’ medications like Plan B,” Cindy Nguyen, Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, said on social media.

This bill would create new requirements for physicians to report each abortion they perform and allow for physicians who violate this law to have their licenses suspended or revoked. The bill would also open avenues for civil lawsuits against individuals aiding a person in seeking an abortion.

“There is a relationship between patient and doctor that is sacred. And the fact that that would be… reported elsewhere, that there would be a number assigned to the woman is… just alarming,” Ranson said.

On Wednesday, the House Criminal Judiciary Committee also approved a bill that would allow prosecutors to bring felony trafficking charges against individuals found possessing or distributing abortion-inducing drugs. Under this bill, a person found in violation of the law faces 10 years in prison or $100,000 in fines.

These bills are part of a concerted effort by right-wing groups like the ADF to erode abortion and contraception access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. In November 2022, the ADF brought a legal challenge to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. The lawsuit, argued by the ADF, claimed that the presumed dead Comstock Act of 1873, which prohibited the dissemination of birth control through the mail “to prevent the mails from being used to corrupt the public morals,” prohibited access to and mailing of the abortion pill.

While the Supreme Court said in the Dobbs decision that undermining the constitutional right to an abortion was limited and would not endanger other substantive due process rights, such as the right to contraception, these bills and legal challenges show that far right legal organizations always intended to use the Dobbs decision to attack other body autonomy rights.

Join us in defending the truth before it’s too late

The future of independent journalism is uncertain, and the consequences of losing it are too grave to ignore. To ensure Truthout remains safe, strong, and free, we need to raise $33,000 in the next 2 days. Every dollar raised goes directly toward the costs of producing news you can trust.

Please give what you can — because by supporting us with a tax-deductible donation, you’re not just preserving a source of news, you’re helping to safeguard what’s left of our democracy.