Oklahoma Abortion Notification Law Survives Appeals Court Rulings

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oklahoma Abortion Notification Law Survives Appeals Court Rulings Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 25, 2005

Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — Last week, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued two rulings against abortion advocates seeking to block enforcement of two laws that require parents to be notified before an abortion can be performed on their minor teenage daughters.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm based in New York, filed suit on behalf of Nova Health Systems, which runs the Tulsa-based Reproductive Services abortion facility. The firm hoped to win a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of a 2005 law.

However, a 10th circuit panel of three judges indicated the statute could withstand constitutional scrutiny and denied the request.

The law (HB 1686), which went into effect in May immediately after Gov. Brad Henry (D) signed it, requires abortion practitioners to notify in writing a parent or guardian of any minor seeking abortion at least 48 hours before performing it.

The law also requires abortion facility staff to give women considering an abortion information 24 hours beforehand regarding the risks and alternatives to abortion. The information also allows women to receive pictures and data discussing the development of their unborn child.

Similar laws in other states have been credited with significantly reducing the number of abortions.

The ruling upholds a decision by District Judge Dale Cook, who decided against issuing a temporary restraining order. Judge Cook said the law makes ample provisions for the health and safety of minors who seek to use the judicial bypass process in emergency situations.

In their second ruling, the 10th circuit panel upheld 2-1 a previous ruling dismissing a case against a 2001 Oklahoma parental notification law because CRR lacked legal standing in the case.

The 2001 law states that "any person who performs an abortion on a minor without parental consent or knowledge shall be liable for the cost of any subsequent medical treatment such minor might require because of the abortion."

CRR attorney Bebe Anderson told the Associated Press the abortion business will consider whether to appeal that decision. She said the firm may choose a different defendant in the case because the court determined that Nova did not prove that the agencies enforcing the law would be responsible for harm the law could potentially cause the company.