An Oklahoma Judge ruled on Friday that a proposed state law severely restricting medication abortions is unconstitutional, permanently blocking the enforcement of the bill. Oklahoma County District Judge Donald Worthington issued the ruling against the bill, which banned non-FDA approved uses of the drug for abortion, but allowed for off-label use of the same medication for any other purpose. A judge temporarily blocked the law in October but Judge Worthington’s ruling makes the block permanent.
In his ruling, Judge Worthington wrote that the bill is “so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that [the bill] can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions and to punish and discriminate against those women who do.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights, the group that filed the original legal challenge, issued a statement in which its President and CEO, Nancy Northup, said, “It sends a strong message to anti-choice legislators in Oklahoma and beyond that their disingenuous tactics for restricting access to abortion and their hostility toward women’s fundamental rights will not stand. The court has made it clear this law was never about protecting women. It was about banning safe and effective methods of terminating a pregnancy, and making it impossible for women to exercise the full range of their constitutionally protected rights.”
This is the third time this year that a state court has overturned an anti-abortion law in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has vowed to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled against a proposal to put a personhood law on the state election ballot.
Tulsa World, 5/15/12; Chicago Tribune 5/14/12; ThinkProgress 5/14/12; Care2 5/14/12; Center for Reproductive Rights Press Release 5/14/12