Two recent studies ranked the quality of life for women in Oklahoma as the worst in the United States and the murder rate of Oklahoma women by men as the second worst in the country.
The Violence Policy Center analyzed 2020 homicide data in the US and found that 66 women died at the hands of men in Oklahoma that year, a rate of 3.28 per 100,000 women. Alaska was the only state with a higher rate of 3.43 per 100,000 women. In Oklahoma, the majority knew the man who killed them, with most perpetrators being a current or former romantic partner.
Click here to view the Violence Policy Center study.
On Friday, News 9 asked Donelle Harder, campaign manager for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s re-election campaign, about the VPC study. In a statement that didn’t address the rate of women killed by men, Harder said Stitt was a proponent of increasing funding for law enforcement.
“Governor Stitt is the only candidate supported by the Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police, and he has provided historic investments and new funding opportunities to strengthen law enforcement at the state and local levels,” Harder said.
Harder also said that Stitt fought “tirelessly” against state 805, a measure that would have changed state sentencing standards for nonviolent crimes.
Joy Hofmeister said more could be done from the Governor’s seat to address the issue of male and intimate partner violence against women.
“A governor has the opportunity to work closely with law enforcement agencies, but also the full range of how we solve major security problems,” said State Commissioner Hofmeister.
A WalletHub study compared social, economic and health trends for women in all 50 states and Washington DC, ranking Oklahoma the 51st worst state for women. It dropped to 47th from 2021.
Click here to view the WalletHub study.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said state abortion laws and limited Medicaid were direct causes of this drop in rank.
“Respect the need for women to make medical and health decisions between themselves and a trusted doctor. We need to reverse some of the extreme bans the governor has put in place. He invited and signed it,” said Governor Hofmeister.
Joy Hofmeister said that she personally values life, but those beliefs don’t extend beyond her own body. Governor Stitt recently expanded SoonerCare to extend coverage for pregnant women to six weeks after the birth. A step in the right direction, but not nearly enough for Hofmeister.
“Oh, it absolutely works,” Hofmeister said. “This governor sat on it and allowed it to remain just 6 weeks of extended care with the expansion of SoonerCare and Medicaid. We asked for an extension of 12 months.”
Regarding abortion, Stitt has repeatedly stated his desire to make Oklahoma the “most livable” state through restrictions on the process. However, he is open to adding more exceptions to the procedure.
Earlier this month, during a News 9 and NonDoc debate, Stitt said that “if the legislature put this on my desk, I would sign legislation” adding certain exceptions to the Oklahoma state’s abortion ban. The procedure is currently only permitted if the mother’s life is in danger.