Sexual assault survivor against new abortion restrictions in Oklahoma

Over the past few weeks, Oklahoma has seen some of the strictest rules on abortion the country has ever seen. Many across the state feel that these restrictions are more damaging than they are helpful in many cases.

The bans only exclude situations where the mother’s life is in immediate danger. Otherwise, those seeking an abortion will not be permitted to do so.

The bans are highly controversial nationwide due to their inclusion of those who have survived cases of sexual assault. Buffy Gabel, a survivor of sexual assault, explained why she believes these changes only hurt the state.

“I don’t agree that that shouldn’t be an option for someone who’s been sexually assaulted because, as if the sexual assault wasn’t trauma enough, having to carry a baby that’s a result of that sexual assault is a constant reminder of the trauma.”

Gabel is a mother of seven children and is currently working as a nurse at Integris Hospital in Edmond. She is also pursuing her graduate degree to become a nurse practitioner.

“I actually think that far more people experience that kind of trauma in their lives than we realize, and one of the things we are taught in nursing school is how to communicate empathetically with our patients… It’s almost like being a counselor, just being sensitive to what they may have experienced in their life,” said Gabel.

Despite describing herself as “pro-life” in many cases, Gabel believes that cases of sexual assault are different than regular abortions.

“I do believe that every baby deserves a chance to be born, but not every pregnancy is ideal and in the cases of sexual assault, it’s even less ideal… A woman might be so ashamed of herself in the fact that she’s pregnant through a sexual assault that she might not even seek medical care,” explained Gabel.

Though there is no punishment to the mother, anyone responsible for performing an abortion illegally in the state of Oklahoma will be fined $100,000 and could face up to 10 years in prison.

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