Oklahoma Law to Reduce Abortions, Allow Ultrasounds Gets Judge’s Injunction
by Steven Ertelt
November 2, 2008
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — A judge has issued an injunction preventing an Oklahoma law intended to reduce abortions and to allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their baby before the abortion begins from taking effect. Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson put the temporary injunction in place.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm based in New York, filed a lawsuit against the measure for a Tulsa abortion business.
The law includes protection for the conscience rights of health care professionals to refuse to participate in abortions, puts more limits in place on the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, and makes sure women are not pressured or forced into having an abortion.
The measure also includes an ultrasound provision to allow women to see pictures of their unborn child and hopefully seek alternatives. It disallows so-called wrongful life lawsuits where parents can sue doctors for the birth of a disabled baby instead of suggesting an abortion.
Judge Robertson ruled the law can’t take effect until March 27 or until she rules on the request from the abortion business to issue a permanent injunction, whichever comes first.
She is expected to hold a hearing in court in February on the law.
Charlie Price, a spokesman for Attorney General Drew Edmondson, told the Oklahoman newspaper that Edmondson is happy with how the injunction turned out because it sets deadlines to complete the case so the state can defend the law.
"Our fear was that if a judge granted the injunction, it could be open-ended, Price said. "We would have no idea when we might get hearings and when the bill would eventually, if at all, go into effect.
Stephanie Toti, an attorney with CRR says she worries the law would put the Nova Health Systems abortion facility, which does 200 abortions a month, out of business.
The lawsuit claims the measure and its giving women more information before an abortion violates privacy rights, endanger’s women’s health, and violates their dignity.
But Rep. Pam Peterson, who sponsored the bill, told the newspaper the law is needed.
"The more information women have the more empowered they are, she said. "This is really a stalling technique because its all about money. … The abortion industry sees this bill as thwarting their profits.
"This is really a stalling technique because its all about money," she said. "The abortion industry sees this bill as thwarting their profits.
After the legislature approved the bill, Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the measure, SB 1878, but members of the state legislature easily overrode the veto to put the law in place.
Nova Health Systems has challenged Oklahoma laws in the past that are designed to reduce abortions.
It challenged a measure requiring the consent of one parent before a teenager can have an abortion. However, a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected the request.
Tony Lauinger, the head of Oklahomans for Life, told LifeNews.com previously that the "pro-life bill helps pregnant women, unborn children, pro-life health-care professionals, and persons with disabilities."
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