Oklahoma hospitals unable to explain policies on emergency abortion care, study finds
Multiple media outlets reported on a new study jointly published by Physicians for Human Rights, Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, which found that most Oklahoma hospitals are unable to provide clear information on their abortion care policies. When asked how they handle obstetric emergencies, hospital staff provided opaque, contradictory or incorrect information and offered little reassurance that clinicians’ medical judgment and pregnant patients’ needs would be prioritized.
Oklahoma resident Jaci Statton told NPR, People, and The Oklahoman that although her pregnancy was nonviable and carried the risk of serious complications, she was turned away from three different Oklahoma hospitals and eventually forced to seek abortion care in Kansas.
Rabia Muqaddam, the Center’s senior staff attorney and a co-author of the study, explained that although the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that the right to abortion is protected in life-threatening situations, multiple overlapping abortion bans remain in force in the state, causing confusion among physicians and leaving abortion care largely unavailable in practice.
“The only real way to remove this threat to people’s lives is to undo the criminalization of abortion,” Muqaddam told The Oklahoman. “It’s the lack of clarity along with the extreme penalties that have caused the chilling effect for doctors.”
Read the articles here:
- “In Oklahoma, a woman was told to wait until she’s ‘crashing’ for abortion care,” NPR, 04.25.23
- “Amid contradictory laws, hospitals in one state were unable to explain policies on emergency abortion care, study finds,” CNN, 04.25.23
- “US abortion bans violate patients’ right to information and to health,” The Lancet, 04.25.23
- “‘My baby’s not gonna make it and neither am I’; Women flee Okla. for life-saving abortions,” The Oklahoman, 04.25.23
- “Hospitals fail to articulate policies on emergency obstetric care, report says,” Tulsa World, 04.25.23
- “Oklahoma Woman with Non-Viable Pregnancy Says Hospital Told Her to Sit in the Parking Lot ‘Until You Bleed Out,'” People, 05.04.23