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Oklahoma Senate bill calls for database of persons requesting abortions

“Despite the framing that this is about helping folks, it’s pretty obvious that this is about expanding the state’s surveillance apparatus”

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State of Oklahoma Senate Chamber (Photo Credit: State of Oklahoma)

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill by Republican state Senator George Burns, (R-Pollard) would establish a government database for pregnant people looking to get abortions in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 1167, titled the Every Mother Matters Act, or EMMA, says Burns is “aimed at ensuring that any woman seeking an abortion is given access to resources and programs she may not realize are available.” 

Critics are charging that because Oklahoma currently has informed-consent laws requiring pregnant people be told about parenting and adoption as abortion alternatives, Burns’ bill is little more than government intrusion and a fast track to a surveillance police state.

Kristin Ford, vice president of communications and research at NARAL Pro-Choice America told Huffington Post journalist Alanna Vagianos; “This bill is just so beyond the bounds of what any rational person would consider an appropriate role for politicians to play in people’s personal lives and family decisions.” Ford added that in her opinion the proposed legislation is “truly off the deep end.”

Burns claims that under SB 1167, a “woman seeking an abortion must be given a pre-abortion resource access assistance offer. If the woman accepts the offer, she’ll be connected with a care agent who will provide, at no cost to her, an assessment of eligibility and offer assistance in obtaining support services, other than abortion, for her or the unborn child’s biological father.  Those services include housing, employment, childcare, health care, counseling, adoption services, financial assistance and more.”

Ford and others argue that with provisions written into the measure including the fact that the database is maintained by the state, and that the pregnant person would then be assigned a “unique identifying number” in the database, and that abortion providers would be mandated to keep the information for seven years, is tantamount to an increased government intrusion into the private lives of the pregnant persons.

Grace Howard, an assistant professor of justice studies at San Jose State University who is writing a book, “The Pregnancy Police: Conceiving Crime, Arresting Personhood,” told the Huffington Post’s Vagianos; “Despite the framing that this is about helping folks, it’s pretty obvious that this is about expanding the state’s surveillance apparatus over pregnant people. People who aren’t even seeking abortion are going to fall under the surveillance apparatus, too.” Howard added, “Tracking pregnant people who are seeking abortions is a slippery slope.”

“My ultimate goal is ending abortion altogether, and that fight continues,” Burns said.  “But we must also do all we can as a state to help present compassionate options for those faced with unexpected pregnancies that promote the preservation and dignity of life for mothers and their babies.”

Shannon Minter, Legal Director for The National Center for Lesbian Rights, (NCLR), in an email to the Blade Thursday reflected; “President Trump’s hijacking of the U.S. Supreme Court has empowered anti-abortion extremists, who are now competing to see who can propose the most draconian and misogynist laws. This Oklahoma bill is only the latest attempt to demonize women and strip them of any agency. Even if this horrific bill never passes, its introduction desensitizes the public to extreme measures and shifts the political landscape in a dangerous direction.”  

Oklahoma

Tulsa donut shop firebombed after hosting LGBTQ+ event

The shoppe had recently sponsored an art exhibition The Queens Dirty Dozen; An art installation run by drag queens

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City Glass by J&B replacing smashed front door in arson case (Photo Credit: The Donut Hole Tulsa/Facebook)

TULSA, Ok. – Tulsa Fire Department arson investigators are looking for a person of interest caught on a Ring.com door cam smashing a hole in a glass door and tossing a Molotov cocktail into a donut shop earlier this week.

Screenshot/Youtube News On 6/KOTV

The surveillance video shows a person placing a letter that investigators said contained anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on the door of a neighboring business, then uses a bat to smash through the glass door. The person then lights the arson device and tosses it through the hole. Tulsa Fire officials told local News On 6/KOTV that the damages to ‘The Donut Hole‘ shoppe were fortunately minimal.

The shoppe had recently sponsored an art exhibition The Queens Dirty Dozen; An art installation run by drag queens. This had caused the business to be vandalized in a previous incident according to the shoppe’s Facebook page.

Sarah Swain, the owner had the front door and windows smashed and her register and electronic equipment stolen the first incident. In a Facebook post Swain noted:

“We had the privilege of being able to be a part of the vision of The Queens Dirty Dozen; An art installation donut shop run by drag queens. The event was an enormous success with over 500 guests attending, and an overwhelming reaction of laughing, jokes, fun and good times were had by all.

Unfortunately, there was also a reaction of hate and we were the victim of somebodies malicious acts. But in ones attempt to rain on our parade, the community answered by showing overwhelming support. From the GoFundMe that was started by Queens Dirty Dozen, goals were surpassed in less than one hour.

Repairs will be made and all extra proceeds will be given to the Tulsa Equality Center to help spread acceptance, tolerance and love. These malicious acts have resulted in thousands of dollars going towards the cause this entire event was meant to support. Love wins.”

Sarah Swain, owner The Donut Hole (Photo Credit: GoFundMe campaign)

The GoFundMe campaign was extended to cover the damages from the firebombing/arson attack.

The local business association, Brookside Business Association, reacted in a statement:

“Over the last few weeks, right here in Brookside, we have watched as a destructive anger has played out against one of the businesses in our district.

Overnight, The Donut Hole was vandalized for the second time in just a matter of weeks. This time, instead of just breaking out glass, the perpetrator threw a Molotov cocktail through the broken glass in an attempt to destroy one of our local businesses.

We are heartbroken.

This type of action does not represent who we are as Tulsans. This irresponsible and reprehensible behavior is destructive and only sends a message of divisiveness and hate.

No matter in what ways we may disagree with others, violence will never be the right response. We, as a business association representing Brookside, unconditionally and unequivocally, condemn these destructive actions and behaviors.

As a community made up of mostly family-owned and small businesses, the Brookside Business Association stands against those in our city who wish to do harm or cause fear. We believe that there is no place for violence or hurtful acts based on differences in our personal beliefs at any time, or in any place.

Our Brookside Business Association stands united against violent displays of anger of any kind, especially aimed at business in our community.

Today, we call for unity and peace. We call for a stop to this targeted vandalism and seek to bring understanding and wholeness back to our community.

We believe that our differences make us stronger together than any of us could ever be on our own.

May these differences unite us instead of divide us as we work to create a better, safer tomorrow.”

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Oklahoma

Bill banning funds for “gender transition” at OU Children’s signed

The requirement OU stops providing gender reassignment or affirming care to minors was signed Tuesday by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt

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Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt (Screenshot/YouTube)

OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure that provides $39 million in funding for OU Children’s Hospital that stipulates the money appropriated will not be transferred without OU meeting the requirement OU stops providing gender reassignment or affirming care to minors was signed Tuesday by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt.

KOCO ABC 5 reported on Sep 29, 2022, that Senate Bill 3 passed both the House and the Senate. Some Republican lawmakers said the stipulation doesn’t go far enough, saying gender reassignment or affirming care has to be banned statewide first.

Democrats argue the bill will already hurt vulnerable children.

“Oklahomans, and specifically young Oklahomans who are transgender, live among us,” state Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, said. “They deserve respect, dignity and medical care that serves them with best practices.”

Senate Bill 3 allocates more than $39 million to OU Health for a children’s mental health center. That money, according to the bill, comes with the requirement that OU stops providing gender reassignment or affirming care to children – even though the funding was never going to that specific department.

OU Health officials told KOCO 5 in a statement Wednesday that they would stop those services.

Thirty-one Republicans wanted the bill. Leadership said it will stop gender treatments while still ensuring OU Health can provide top-notch mental health care.

“Will make OU, which is already a great hospital, will make them a better hospital to serve the people of Oklahoma,” state Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, said.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools begin requiring ‘biological sex’ affidavits for sports

The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” restricts transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity

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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (Screenshot/YouTube)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The state of Oklahoma began enforcement of the law Monday that requires sports teams in the state’s public schools and including colleges or universities be designated solely based on athletes’ “biological sex,” or sex assigned at birth.

Republican Governor Kevin Stitt in March signed into law Senate Bill 2, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which restricts transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.

In early July, NBC Oklahoma City affiliate KFOR-TV reported that some school districts were beginning to distribute “biological sex affidavits” to student athletes to enforce the law.

An activist tweeted a picture of one school district’s affidavit:

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma City township gay mayor resigns citing homophobic threats

In his letter of resignation, he wrote that some of the alleged harassment stemmed from an incident between himself and Nichols Hills police

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Adam Graham/Twitter

THE VILLAGE, Ok. – The openly Out gay Mayor of this enclave city of 9,564 residents, surrounded by Oklahoma’s capital city, sent a letter to its city manager Monday informing him that the Mayor was stepping down immediately.

According to now former Mayor Adam Graham in a tweet accompanying his letter of resignation, “For almost five years, I’ve proudly served The Village as Councilmember and Mayor. It’s been an honor to serve and it’s been my great privilege to break boundaries. I no longer feel safe to serve in my capacity here. It’s with a heavy-heart that I tender my resignation.”

In his letter Graham cited escalating homophobic threats including ones indicating violence, his property vandalized, and his discomfiture with the situation in the community.

The city’s largest daily newspaper, The Oklahoman, reported The Village City Manager Bruce Stone, to whom Graham’s letter was addressed, did not return The Oklahoman’s phone calls, but city officials confirmed via phone Monday that Graham had resigned.

In his letter of resignation, Graham wrote that some of the alleged harassment stemmed from an incident between himself and Nichols Hills police. Graham did not respond to the paper’s request for an interview.

Nichols Hills Police Chief Steven Cox told The Oklahoman he has not heard from Graham regarding the incident, which Cox said happened during a traffic stop initiated within Nichols Hills city limits. The vehicle being pulled over drove a few blocks before stopping in The Village city limits, Cox said.

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Oklahoma

Multiple victims in shooting at Tulsa hospital; Gunman ‘Down,’ police say

Police say a man with a rifle entered a local hospital in Tulsa, Okla., and shot multiple people. The shooter is down.

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Screenshot via NBC News

UPDATED from The Associated Press:

A man who blamed his surgeon for ongoing pain after a recent back surgery bought an AR-style rifle hours before opening fire at a Tulsa medical office, killing the surgeon and three other people before fatally shooting himself, police said Thursday.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin says the gunman had recently undergone back surgery and had called a clinic repeatedly complaining of pain. Franklin says the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Preston Phillips, was killed Wednesday, along with another doctor, a receptionist and a patient.

Original Story:

TULSA, Ok. – Four people were killed Wednesday afternoon after a shooting at a doctor’s office in Tulsa. A fifth person believed to be the suspect, died by suicide after a shooting at a medical complex a Tulsa Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple media outlets Wednesday evening.

Officers were called to the Natalie Building, located in the area of 61st Street and Yale Avenue, at St. Francis Hospital regarding a man armed with a rifle.

“This turned into an active shooter situation,” a Tulsa police captain said in a released statement.

“Officers are currently going through every room in the building checking for additional threats. We know there are multiple injuries, and potentially multiple casualties,” the spokesperson said.

KOTV-DT News 6 Tulsa reported that a representative from Governor Kevin Stitt’s office says he has talked with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum to express his condolences and offer any state resources that may be needed.

The White House notified reporters that President Biden has been briefed on the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The White House is closely monitoring the situation and has reached out to state and local officials to offer support.

This is a developing story.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signs anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill’ into law

“These violations put Oklahoma at risk of losing millions of dollars & harms trans youth, all to solve a problem that does not exist”

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Screenshot/YouTube

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Wednesday Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed the anti-Trans measure Senate Bill 615 into law. The measure, which took effect immediately, requires all kindergarten through 12th grade students in public and charter schools to use restrooms and changing facilities associated with the sex listed on their birth certificates.

Provisions in the language of the law requires schools to adopt disciplinary procedures to punish students who do not comply and allows parents and guardians to take legal action against any school that does not comply with the new law.

The capital city’s leading paper, The Oklahoman noted that any schools or districts that violate the law would see a 5 percent penalty reduction in state funding. ‘That could subtract thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the school system,” the paper noted.

“Governor Stitt believes girls should use girl restrooms and boys should use boy restrooms,” Stitt’s spokesperson Carly Atchison told media in a statement.

Opponents of the law point out that it is likely a violation of federal civil rights. “By singling out transgender students for discrimination and excluding them from restrooms that match their gender identity, SB 615 discriminates based on transgender status and sex in violation of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act,” Tamya Cox-Touré, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“These violations put Oklahoma at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding and harms transgender youth, all to solve a problem that plainly does not exist,” Cox-Touré added.

“This law is unconstitutional, a violation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and more than anything it is unnecessarily cruel for the sake of cruelty,” said Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma. “Over the last day we’ve heard people talk about school safety over and over again. But with a flick of his pen, Governor Stitt said that safety doesn’t extend to already vulnerable transgender and Two Spirit young people.”

“What states like Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina have done time after time is find new ways to attack these kids for their political gains among radical voters,” Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campain said in a press release. “Governor Stitt has repeatedly disregarded the real harms these bills will impose on Oklahoma’s youth.”

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