Tulsa Abortion Clinics Still Providing Counseling, Sonograms, Other Services After New Law Signed

Thursday, May 26th 2022, 5:31 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Abortion clinics in Tulsa are reacting to Oklahoma having the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, now that Governor Kevin Stitt has signed House Bill 4327 into law.

"This really is a first across the country. Oklahoma is the first state where you cannot access abortion at any stage of pregnancy since Roe became law in 1973,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO Emily Wales said.

The law only allows abortions when the woman's life is at risk, or when a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, and the crime has been reported to law enforcement. Wales said it has been a “disappointing and frustrating day for our team.”

Another Tulsa clinic said it has sent a handful of women seeking abortions this week, to Texas. The Planned Parenthood near 11th and Peoria and the Tulsa Women's Clinic near 31st and Sheridan both remain open, but no longer provide abortions.

"We've been in Oklahoma a long time and we're not going anywhere,” Wales said. “But we will have to serve people differently because of the restrictions be placed on them by the state."

Wales said the Tulsa and Oklahoma City locations will still provide contraception, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, counseling, and resources to help women travel out of state for an abortion. Wales said the two locations in Oklahoma paused abortion services earlier this month, after Senate Bill 1503 became law, banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

"The same day we were planning to reopen the schedule, this new law, a total ban was passed,” Wales said. “So we took the precaution of not restarting services knowing that there was a very good chance we could not see people after they started waiting that mandatory consent period."

"Essentially it forces Oklahoma women to flee their home state to seek health care,” Tulsa Women’s Clinic Executive Administrator Andrea Gallegos said.

Wales and Gallegos said patients are now turning to states like Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Colorado. After seeing hundreds of women from Texas over the past several months, the Tulsa Women's Clinic, which also has a clinic in San Antonio, said it has found a "surreal" solution for some.

"Obviously we're not referring patients from Texas to Oklahoma anymore, however, one of the things we offered for patients that we canceled in Tulsa on Monday was if it was at all feasible, possible, for them to get to San Antonio on Monday and they thought they were within those same limits of you know 1503, SB8, then we would see them on Monday,” she said.

Gallegos said they have turned some Oklahoma women to Texas for abortions because the law there is no longer as restrictive as Oklahoma's.

"Monday through today, a total of maybe seven,” Gallegos said.

The Tulsa Women's Clinic said it will still offer counseling, along with sonograms to help women find out how far along they might be.

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is thanking lawmakers and Governor Stitt for passing the new law. In a statement, Archbishop of Oklahoma City Paul S. Coakley said,

“Building a culture of life in Oklahoma that recognizes the inherent dignity of every person requires the protections afforded by pro-life legislation and a profound change of heart. I encourage Oklahomans to pray for women in crisis pregnancy situations, for their families and loved ones, for families waiting to adopt, for fathers, and for the many pregnancy resource centers serving these brave parents. Thank you to Oklahoma’s legislative leaders and to Gov. Stitt for supporting pro-life measures.”