by Steven Ertelt
January 13, 2006
Denver, CO (LifeNews.com) — An Oklahoma law requiring abortion practitioners to notify the parents of a minor teen before being able to perform an abortion got a hearing in front of a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
The court heard oral arguments in a pro-abortion lawsuit seeking to overturn the law, which requires abortion practitioners to notify in writing a parent or guardian of any minor seeking abortion at least 48 hours beforehand.
Teresa Collett, a pro-life attorney defending the law, argued in a court document that the Oklahoma legislature modeled the judicial bypass clause after a Minnesota provision that was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990.
The court could rule on the case in the next two months.
The law (HB 1686), which went into effect in May immediately after Gov. Brad Henry (D) signed it, also required abortion businesses to notify women considering an abortion of the risks and alternatives as well as provide her with information about the development of her unborn child.
The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights — which sought to block enforcement of the law on behalf of Nova Health Systems, the parent company of a Tulsa, Okla.-based abortion facility, Reproductive Services.
The New York law firm filed suit arguing that the law violates girls’ rights by not establishing guidelines for judicial bypass in cases of abuse or if a girl does not have parents.
District Judge Dale Cook 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.
CRR then filed a second motion, asking Cook to prevent the law from taking effect until the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the appeal of Cook’s earlier decision or until the Oklahoma Supreme Court sets a time frame for handling judicial bypass requests.
In May a 10th circuit panel of three judges indicated the statute could withstand constitutional scrutiny and denied the request. The abortion advocates asked the appeals court to rehear the case.
Similar laws in other states have been credited with significantly reducing the number of abortions.