- Dec 1, 2017
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- Political Leaning
A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S.
AMY GOODMAN: Later in the broadcast, we’ll talk about Cameroonians getting TPSafter a multiyear fight. But first, we look now at how Republican-led states are enacting a wave of new abortion restrictions, with four more states added just last week: Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and Oklahoma. On Tuesday, Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill that makes performing an abortion illegal, with an exception only in the case of a medical emergency.
AMY GOODMAN: This comes after Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, effectively outlawing the procedure. It’s modeled after the Mississippi abortion law that the U.S. Supreme Court is currently weighing and which could essentially overturn Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the Republican-led Legislature voted to enact a similar law that has no exceptions for people who become pregnant by rape or incest. Kentucky also banned abortion pills by mail, as did the Tennessee Republican-led House in a bill passed Thursday. Meanwhile, Democrat-led states, like Maryland and Michigan, are trying to expand abortion access.GOV. KEVIN STITT: I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hit my desk. And that’s what we’re doing here today. … We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country. We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma.
For more, we’re joined by Caroline Kitchener. She is national political reporter at The Washington Post, where she covers abortion. Her latest piece is headlined “Republicans enacting a wave of new abortion restrictions.”
Caroline, why don’t you just give us a lay of the land in the United States in this lead-up to the Supreme Court decision in June that could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade? I mean, the numbers are just astounding of states that have introduced virtual abortion bans, even in the last week almost one a day.
CAROLINE KITCHENER: It’s hard to keep track. They’re doing the same thing all across the country in Republican-led states. I think a really important point to make is that we’ve seen this in past years, you know, but the past couple of years we’ve seen Republican-led legislatures rushing to pass all sorts of really extreme anti-abortion legislation. But this year it feels different, because it actually seems like some of these most extreme, most sweeping bills, that really wipe out abortion access, could actually take effect. In the past, these kinds of bans, they’ve been blocked by the courts really consistently. But now Texas has this law, this six-week abortion ban that’s been in place since September, and the Supreme Court is potentially poised to overturn Roe. So, the stakes feel really different this year for the kinds of legislation that we’re seeing.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, just describe each situation, I mean, each ban. Just last week, for example, in Oklahoma, describe what Kevin Stitt signed as he said, “We are trying to outlaw abortion,” Oklahoma.
CAROLINE KITCHENER: So, Oklahoma is a — Oklahoma is really one to watch. It’s one that I’ve been paying attention to most closely, because there are several bans there that are moving through that are really concerning to abortion providers. So, there was the one that was signed by the governor last week.
That’s a total ban.
That would make performing an abortion illegal, punishable by up to 10 years in prison for doctors who provide abortions in the state. But there are also two other bans that could take effect as early as this week, and that — those two I’m watching very closely, because unlike the ban that was signed last week, these two could take effect with the governor’s signature.
So that means that abortion could be banned in Oklahoma. This could take effect as early as this week. And now that’s particularly significant for Oklahoma, because as well as affecting Oklahoma patients who are trying to get abortions in the state, it also has a huge impact on patients from Texas, who have been coming to Oklahoma more than any other state since their own abortion ban took effect in September.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, talk about this. I mean, I don’t think people realize in this country that we’re talking about really internal refugees, people who have to go from state to state, like Texas to Oklahoma. And you’ve really documented this, the number of hours that they have to go. And, of course, people of less means — and particularly this is affecting communities of color — cannot afford to either take a plane or drive hours or days to get to an abortion clinic.