Oklahoma Opens First New Abortion Clinic In 40 Years

Photo: Sue Ogrocki/AP.
The state of Oklahoma has opened its first new family planning clinic since 1974. According to The Associated Press, the Trust Women South Wind Women's Center in Oklahoma City provides services that include abortions, Ob/Gyn care, family planning, adoption, and emergency contraception. Before the clinic's opening on September 10, Oklahoma City was the largest metropolitan area in the United States without an abortion provider. The only other providers in Oklahoma were in the cities of Norman and Tulsa. "If you look at this part of the country, there is a lack of access to reproductive health care, and frankly a lack of access to health care across the board," Julie Burkhart, Trust Women's founder and CEO, told the Associated Press. "It's hard for women who want to give birth to find Ob/Gyns to help them deliver their babies." Trust Women's mission is to protect the rights of pregnant people everywhere, especially in Midwestern and Southern states where strict laws have made it hard for women to receive care. The AP reported that Oklahoma has passed some of the "most far-reaching anti-abortion bills in the country," including mandatory waiting periods and bans on different methods of abortion. The state also requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. At least five of the state's anti-abortion laws are now facing legal challenges. Most of the newly proposed laws have now been put on hold due to these pending lawsuits. Back in June, the state vetoed a bill that would make all abortions illegal in the state and would punish healthcare providers who performed abortions with up to three years in jail, according to Newsweek. Burkhart told the AP she expects the new Oklahoma clinic will "provide about 1,500 abortions in its first year, increasing to as many as 3,000 per year after a few years." The center's opening in Oklahoma City was met with criticism from anti-choice activists. A spokesperson for the Holy Innocents Foundation of Oklahoma told the AP that the organization "grieved" at the news of the opening. According to Health Department statistics, the overall rate of abortions in Oklahoma have dropped from 2002 to 2015, with the fewest number of abortions being recorded last year. Correction: The original story implied that the Trust Women clinic opened in Oklahoma City was in Kansas. It is in Oklahoma state. This article has been edited to reflect that change.

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