OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Planned Parenthood opened an abortion clinic in the Oklahoma City area on Tuesday, becoming the second provider in the last two months to open one in or near Oklahoma's largest city.
The new Planned Parenthood Great Plains clinic is in Warr Acres, a suburban enclave in northwestern Oklahoma City. Although Planned Parenthood operates several health clinics in Oklahoma, this new facility is the first that will offer abortion services.
"PPGP opened its new health center so that patients have one more trusted option in Oklahoma City and we will continue providing the excellent care patients have come to know and trust, in spite of some of the toughest medically unnecessary restrictions against abortion providers in the nation," the chapter's president and CEO, Laura McQuade, said in a statement.
A Kansas-based foundation, Trust Women, opened an abortion clinic on the city's south side in September, becoming the first new abortion provider in the state in 40 years. At the time, the organization said Oklahoma City was the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without an abortion provider, and that the state's last clinic opened in 1974. The only other abortion clinics operating in Oklahoma are in Norman and Tulsa.
Dr. Naresh Patel performed abortions for decades at his clinic in Warr Acres before he gave up his license last year as part of a plea deal to fraud charges alleging he sold abortion-inducing drugs to women who weren't actually pregnant.
Oklahoma's Republican-led Legislature has passed some of the country's most far-reaching anti-abortion legislation. At least five anti-abortion measures approved in recent years face legal challenges, including mandatory waiting periods, requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and bans on various methods of abortion. Most of the proposed new laws have been temporarily halted while the lawsuits are pending.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, about 4,330 abortions were performed in Oklahoma last year, the fewest number since 2002.