Oklahoma Judge Strikes Down Restrictive Abortion Law

An Oklahoma judge yesterday overturned a state law requiring women seeking abortions must first receive an ultrasound and a description of the fetus from a doctor. Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson ruled that the law, which includes multiple provisions, violates the state’s constitutional directive limiting a law to only one, reports the Associated Press.

Other provisions in the overturned law included restrictions on protection for healthcare providers who oppose abortion and a physician’s ability to prescribe the medical abortion pill. The law was never enforced due to an October 2008 temporary injunction following a challenge by the Tulsa clinic Reproductive Services, according to a press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented the clinic.

Attorney Stephanie Toti stated, “We are extremely pleased with today’s decision striking down a multitude of abortion restrictions, including the most extreme ultrasound requirement in the country for women seeking abortions.”

Toti told the Washington Post that the law could have led to the closure of Oklahoma’s three abortion clinics as doctors feared facing felony charges if they unknowingly violated ambiguous sections of the law. The laws original sponsor, State Senator Todd Lamb (R), has said he will likely seek an appeal on the ruling, reports the Washington Post. The bill’s provisions could also be proposed and passed by the state legislature as separate bills.


Associated Press 8/19/09; Center for Reproductive Rights 8/18/09; Washington Post 8/19/09

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