Support Intelligent, In-Depth, Trustworthy Journalism.
Leave your feedback
The U.S. Supreme Court is soon expected to issue what could be a momentous decision upending abortion rights. Last month, a leaked draft revealed the conservative justices were preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion regulation to the states. NewsHour's Adam Kemp in Oklahoma City, Gabrielle Hays in St. Louis and Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado in Fresno join Judy Woodruff to discuss.
In the coming days, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue what could be a momentous decision upending abortion rights.
Last month, a leaked draft revealed the conservative justices were preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion regulation to the states. It's not clear how closely a final opinion will reflect the draft. But the leak alone has already reshaped abortion access for millions of Americans.
I'm joined now by "NewsHour" community reporters, Adam Kemp in Oklahoma City, Gabrielle Hays in St. Louis, and Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado in Fresno, California.
Hello to all of you. I know you have done a lot of reporting around this. And I want to ask you about it.
Adam, let me start with you in Oklahoma City. I know the state of Oklahoma, there's been a lot of movement around abortion access. Tell us, remind us, what are the rules, the restrictions now, and how might they change in coming days?
That's right, Judy.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 4327 late last month, which effectively outlaws abortion in the state almost entirely. That comes on the heels of a different ban that the governor signed in earlier May, which outlawed abortion after six weeks of care, which is after — or before most women know that they are pregnant.
It's important to know that it's an election year. And Governor Stitt is seeking reelection here in Oklahoma. He has promised to signed every anti-abortion measure that reaches his desk so far. And he has signed five of those measures so far this year. Abortion advocates say that this latest one, though, is the strictest in the nation, as it not only outlaws abortion at fertilization, but it also allows private citizens to sue one another.
There are a few exceptions to this law. To save the life of the mother is one of them, as well as for incidents of rape and incest. But those incidents have to have been reported to law enforcement.
And, Adam, how are — at this point, how are abortion providers responding to all this?
Yes, abortion providers here in the state have effectively ended abortions. They are not providing them right now.
The four clinics in the state stopped them, both medical and surgical abortions. Planned Parenthood operates two clinics here in the state, and they actually stopped providing abortions after the six-week ban went into effect in early May.
We talked to Dr. Iman Alsaden with Planned Parenthood Great Plains.
Dr. Iman Alsaden, Medical Director, Planned Parenthood of Great Plains: We have seen already that Oklahoma patients have been displaced from our clinics because of the massive influx of patients from Texas.
Now, we see a lot of patients that come from Texas, and we were seeing many patients in Oklahoma that were coming from Texas. And I always think about, like, there must be thousands of patients that do not have the means to make it to be seen in Oklahoma, to be seen in Tulsa, to be seen in Kansas, to be seen in Colorado or New Mexico.
Talking to providers here on the ground here in Oklahoma, they are referring patients to nearby states, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and as far as California to help them find care have. Different funds have been set up here in Oklahoma to help provide money for travel costs, as well as hotel stays, child care, and the price of the procedure itself.
And that's the picture in Oklahoma.
Gabrielle Hays in St. Louis, if Roe is overturned by the Supreme Court, what would abortion access look like in Missouri?
Well, the story of Missouri really starts back in 2019, at least most recently. That's back when Missouri passed a law that would almost entirely ban abortions in his state if Roe did in fact or does in fact fall.
It's important to note that, in that law, the only exception that there is for medical emergencies. And so it's also important to note that, when that law was passed, it was challenged in the federal courts almost immediately. A day before it was set to go into effect, it was held up or blocked by a federal judge.
And it has been held up in litigation of the last couple of years. So it's still tied up. But, again, if it were to fall, if Roe did fall, if Roe does fall, it would be almost a complete ban. I'd also note that, after the draft came out, we did see our attorney general kind of already say that, if this does happen, if Roe does fall, he is prepared to make an opinion that would support that.
And, Gabrielle, if Roe, if the decision that dates back to the 1970s is overturned, how would abortion providers respond to that?
I know you have been talking to them. And remind us, what is the access right now to abortion in Missouri?
So, right now, there's only one clinic in the whole state that a person can go to in order in order to get access to an abortion. Not long after the law was passed back into 2019, they had a banner on their building that said "Still Here" in big letters.
Today, they have a new banner that says celebrating their 90 years, but it also is sort of a message, they say, lets the community know that they can still have access to abortion there at that clinic. It's also important to note too that there are states around Missouri where people can have access as well.
And we do know that places across the river over in Illinois, clinics over on that side of the river are already preparing to be able to offer services to those who are looking for abortion, if Roe in fact does fall.
That's Gabrielle Hays ayes reporting for us from St. Louis.
I want to turn now to Fresno, California, and to Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado.
Cresencio, we — as we said a moment ago, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, the decision goes back to the states. California is one of the states we expect that's going to be looking to protect women's access further. What do you see going on there in that regard?
vThat's exactly right, Judy.
And, actually, before news of the Supreme Court leaked, California had actually been moving to strengthen reproductive care and rights here in the state. And the governor had previously eliminated out-of-pocket costs for abortion and had allowed abortion to be included in medical insurance coverage plans.
And so immediately following the news from the Supreme Court, the governor announced that the state would move to amend the Constitution to enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution. And so now legislators are working on that. And they have until the end of this month to put that on the ballot for November.
But legislators are also going a step further, including most recently moving forward more than 12 bills that would essentially strengthen reproductive care rights in the state. And one of those bills includes shielding pregnant women who might have a miscarriage from prosecution.
We recently saw here two high-profile cases of women who were prosecuted for having stillborn babies over alleged use of drugs. And civil rights groups were alarmed by that. And so these bills are essentially intended to protect women from that prosecution.
But the state in general is moving forward to strengthen the right to abortion and the general right to reproductive care in the state.
And, Cresencio, we heard Adam refer a moment ago to how Oklahoma abortion providers were overwhelmed as women from Texas came across the border looking to seek access to abortion.
Tell us about the situation around providers in California. Are they prepared if Roe is overturned and women come across the border into California seeking abortions?
So, most recently, when I spoke to Planned Parenthood here, they told me that they had actually also been preparing for this and anticipating this type of news to come, and that they had expanded their capacity at their clinics for patients who might be coming from different states.
They had also been training more clinicians in order to provide those services if they see these influxes. But advocates from Planned Parenthood are also keeping a very close eye in places like the San Joaquin Valley, where access to abortion is more limited than it is in other parts of the state.
One of the things also with the potential influx is that Planned Parenthood is trying to make sure that services are not diminished for people in California, and that they are able to provide these services to residents in state, but still be able to accommodate people who might be coming from different states.
Well, we know, as we wait to see what the Supreme Court does, all eyes are going to be on the states to see how they handle whatever the decision is.
I want to thank all three of you, Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado in Fresno, Gabrielle Hays in St. Louis and, Adam Kemp in Oklahoma City.
Thank you so much.
Watch the Full Episode
Courtney Norris is a deputy senior producer of national affairs for the NewsHour. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @courtneyknorris
Gabrielle Hays is a Communities Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour out of St. Louis.
Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a reporter for the PBS NewsHour out of Fresno. Follow him on Twitter @cres_guez
Support Provided By:
Support PBS NewsHour:
Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Additional Support Provided By: