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The most unusual legislative session in the history of Oklahoma is now over. Legislators welcomed Sine Die Adjournment at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 29, although they had actually finished their work one week before. By law, the legislature must end the regular session by 5:00 p.m. on the last Friday in May, which they did, but this year the gavel fell without lawmakers in their chambers. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley look back at the session that will always be defined by COVID-19.

Lawmakers adjourned the 2019 legislative session Thursday. StateImpact reporters followed a number of issues this year. They sit down to talk about the bills that made it to the end of the session and those that are in limbo.

Anti-Abortion Strategy Splits Oklahoma Lawmakers

Apr 18, 2019
Anti-abortion advocates listen to speakers decry a proposed abortion trigger bill at the Oklahoma State Capitol Feb. 25, 2019. Instead, they rallied to outlaw abortion immediately, rather than waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. could be overturned. If that happens, the regulation of abortion returns to the states. Some state legislatures led by liberal Democrats, such as New York, have decided to protect the right to an abortion.

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Feb. 28 was the first major deadline since the the 2019 Oklahoma legislative session convened. In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss bills gaining traction at the state capitol, as well as one piece of legislation that has already been signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. 

Oklahoma has some of the strictest abortion regulations in the country. Women must wait 72 hours after deciding to have an abortion, they cannot use insurance— public or private— to pay for the procedure in most cases, and each woman seeking an abortion in Oklahoma is required to have an ultrasound. And yet, an Oklahoma court case set the stage for legalizing abortion in the United States.

Sam Ward / Reveal

In Texas, women with limited access to abortions are traveling across the border to find a drug that will induce miscarriages. In Mississippi, anti-abortion groups are opening crisis pregnancy centers across from abortion clinics to persuade women to keep their babies. And one company offers permanent birth control through the insertion of a simple device – that’s ended up causing health complications for thousands of women. This week, we look into pregnancy and the ways people try to prevent it, end it and save it.

In this Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb speaks at the State of the State in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogracki / AP

 

Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb stepped down from the governor’s cabinet due to his opposition to the governor’s tax plan during a busy legislative week that included moves on an abortion bill and several teacher pay raise proposals.

Lamb’s resignation was well received by the 14 legislators who pledged to fight against service sales taxes.

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

An Oklahoma state law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges was struck down Tuesday by the state’s highest court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the law places an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion, and violates the state constitution’s single subject rule.

Dr. Larry Burns sits in a courtroom as he waits for a hearing to begin in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 9, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a state law that would’ve placed new restrictions on abortion providers.

In a unanimous ruling, the state’s high court said the law Gov. Mary Fallin signed in June 2015 violates the Oklahoma constitutional requirement that laws deal with only one subject.

“A legislator voting on this matter could have been left with an unpalatable all-or-nothing choice,” the decision says.

State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, on the floor of the Senate May 17, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The author of a bill that would’ve effectively outlawed abortion in Oklahoma wants to talk with Gov. Mary Fallin about overriding her veto.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, state Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, says he wants to address Fallin’s concerns about Senate Bill 1552.

Gov Mary Fallin on the floor of the state Capitol during a House vote on Wednesday.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill Friday that would've criminalized abortion in Oklahoma. The measure would've effectively banned the procedure in the state by making it a felony. It also would've punished doctors who performed an abortion by revoking their medical license and with possible jail time.

Updated May 20, 3:54 p.m.

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday a citizen-led effort to outlaw abortion in the state is unconstitutional.

In the ruling, the state’s high court cited the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the constitutional right to an abortion.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Chambers
ensign_beedrill / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A New York-based abortion rights group has asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to permanently block a law it claims is designed to shut down abortion clinics in the state.

The Center for Reproductive Rights Thursday asked the state's highest court to block a law requiring abortion providers to have a physician with local hospital admitting privileges present when abortions are performed.

Oklahoma Supreme Court Chambers
ensign_beedrill / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says a 2014 law restricting the use of certain abortion-inducing drugs is constitutional. After Tuesday’s ruling, a lower court will now review other challenges to the measure.

The law requires Oklahoma doctors to follow the original U.S. Food and Drug Administration protocol for two drugs used to terminate a pregnancy in the early stages, despite studies that have found it’s just as effective to take the drugs in smaller doses for up to two weeks later than what’s currently approved by the FDA.

The scene in front of clinics where abortions are performed is often tense, with clinic workers escorting patients past activists waving signs and taking photographs.

But increasingly, another drama is unfolding out back. There, abortion opponents dig through the trash in search of patient information.

creationc / Stock.XCHNG

The Oklahoma County District Court will take up the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law that restricts non-surgical abortions in a hearing on Monday. 

The law restricts medication abortions after 49 days of pregnancy. 

Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law last year but it was blocked by the state Supreme Court. 

OversightAndReform / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Sen. James Lankford is introducing a bill to end all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood unless the organization stops performing all abortions.

Lankford announced Wednesday he has introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act, which would impose a one-year moratorium on federal funding to the organization unless it stops providing abortions.

Planned Parenthood provides a variety of non-abortion health services, including health screenings, family planning and adoption referrals at several clinics in Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma has become the second state to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed the legislation Monday after it was overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate.

The abortion measure prohibits doctors from using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a live fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures performed in the second trimester.

Oklahoma State Capitol
mrlaugh / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma would become the fourth state in the country to require women to wait 72 hours before receiving an abortion under a bill overwhelmingly approved by a state Senate committee.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted 8-1 on Monday for the bill that increases the wait time from 24 to 72 hours after a woman receives required information about the procedure. It now heads to the full Senate.

Legislation prohibiting abortions where doctors use clamps, forceps or similar instruments to dismember a fetus in the womb has been approved by an Oklahoma Senate committee.

The Committee on Health and Human Services voted 7-1 Monday for the House-passed measure. The bill, which has been proposed in several states by a national anti-abortion group, now goes to the full Senate.

The measure by Republican Sen. Josh Brecheen of Coalgate would ban procedures in which doctors use medical devices to dismember a fetus in the womb to complete an abortion.

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