© 2021
In touch with the world ... at home on the High Plains
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Thousands of Oklahomans sought abortions across state lines in 2022

 Protestors stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in October 2021.
Gayatri Malhotra
Protestors stand outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in October 2021.

After Oklahoma banned abortions with few exceptions, thousands of women traveled to surrounding states to receive abortion care in 2022.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, a 1910 law banned all abortions in the state, except if necessary to save the mother’s life.

Two other laws signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt required a medical emergency in order to receive an abortion. Both of Stitt’s bans were struck down by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. The court cited a clause in the state constitution that granted the “inherent right” of a pregnant person to terminate a pregnancy when necessary to save a life.

There are three states bordering Oklahoma that still allow abortion access: Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

  • According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment 2022 statistics, 2,026 Oklahomans received abortions in that state last year. In 2021, that number was just 137.

  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statistics show the state saw 198 Oklahomans for abortion care in 2022, but in 2021, that number was 12.

  • New Mexico has yet to release its 2022 abortion statistics.

Oklahomans aren’t the only ones seeking care across state lines, with Texas, Missouri and Arkansas also banning abortion post-Roe overturn.

Of the over 8,000 out-of-state abortions performed in Kansas last year, nearly 3,000 were Texans. 2,883 were from Missouri, and 405 were from Arkansas.

Roe v. Wade was overturned in May 2022, meaning statistics from last year reflect seven months with restricted abortion access.

While abortions were protected under Roe v. Wade, 4,145 Oklahomans received abortions in their home state.

In 2022, 2,160 abortions were performed in Oklahoma, according to statistics from the Department of Health. Over 1,000 of those abortions traveled from Texas, which enforced a heartbeat bill in August 2021. All but five occurred prior to May, with no abortions performed in the state from June to December.

Get the latest Oklahoma news in your inbox every weekday morning. * indicates required

Copyright 2023 KOSU. To see more, visit KOSU.

Peggy Dodd