Federal Court Denies Injunction for Oklahoma Parental Notification Law

A three-judge panel of the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied an injunction against an Oklahoma law requiring doctors to notify in writing a parent or guardian of a woman under the age of 18 seeking an abortion at least 48 hours before the procedure is performed. The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed suit on behalf of a Tulsa clinic to block enforcement of the 2005 law because it did not adequately protect teens from physically or emotionally abusive homes seeking an abortion who cannot involve their parents in the decision.

Though the law does provide a judicial bypass option, the law does not provide guidelines or deadlines for the judge to make a decision, according to CRR. Delays in obtaining an abortion could increase the medical risks and the cost to the young woman. The law also provides an exception only to “prevent the death” of the woman, or if there is “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a bodily function.”

LEARN MORE about the judicial bypass option firsthand in the Ms. article, “Jane Doe’s Choice.”

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Text of opinion 8/25/06; Text of law; Kaiser Daily WomenÕs Health Policy Report 8/29/06; Center for Reproductive Rights 5/19/05

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