Sunday, September 24, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Sunday, September 24, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Oklahoma’s Anti-Abortion Law Challenged

OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - An Oklahoma law that allows felony charges to be brought against doctors who prescribe RU 486, a miscarriage-inducing drug, and also allows them to be sued by the would-be grandmothers, is being challenged in state court as unconstitutional. The law is set to go into effect Nov. 1st.

The law set to go into effect Nov. 1st will prohibit women from getting an abortion unless they watch an ultrasound image of the embryo, while their doctor describes what the woman is seeing. The law allows felony charges to be brought against doctors who prescribe Mifepristone / RU 486, and allows paternal grandmothers of aborted embryos to sue doctors - all of which is unconstitutional, Nova Health Systems claims in Oklahoma County Court.

Oklahoma's Senate Bill 1878 was enacted on April 17 and is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1. It subjects abortion providers to criminal and civil liabilities.

Plaintiff Nova, dba Reproductive Services, claims the bill is unconstitutional on a slew of grounds, including vagueness, violating the "single-subject rule" and the "non-delegation doctrine" in the Oklahoma Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution.

Among the most obnoxious provisions of SB 1878 are Sections 11-13, the "Ultrasound Provision," the plaintiffs say. This requires that "'in order for the woman to make an informed decision, at least one hour prior to a woman having any part of an abortion performed or induced, and prior to the administration of any anesthesia or medication in preparation for the abortion on the woman, the physician who is to perform the abortion or induce the abortion, or the certified technician working in conjunction with the physician' must (1) 'perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman, using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly;' (2) 'provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting;' (3) 'display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them;' and (4) 'provide a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.'"

A doctor who refuses to do this can have his or her license revoked.

Plaintiffs demand a permanent injunction. They are represented by Anne Zachritz with Andrews Davis. This download includes the text of the legislation.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.