Oklahoma Officials Will Appeal Judge’s Overturning Abortion-Ultrasound Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Oklahoma Officials Will Appeal Judge’s Overturning Abortion-Ultrasound Law

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 20
, 2009

Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — Oklahoma officials will file a request to overturn a judge’s decision to declare a law invalid that allows women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn children before an abortion. The law drew opposition from an abortion business that wanted to leave women in the dark.

As LifeNews.com reported this week, Judge Vickie Robertson determined that the law violated Oklahoma’s single-subject rule which requires legislation only deal with one issue at the time. SB 1878 was an omnibus bill that addressed five abortion-related issues.

Now, Charlie Price, a spokesman for Attorney General W.A. Drew Edmondson, said Wednesday that Edmondson’s office would file an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The state will argue that the law does not violate the single-subject rule, because all its parts are related to abortion and no other political subject.

Martha Hardwick, a Tulsa lawyer with the Center for Reproductive Rights, the pro-abortion law firm based in New York which filed the suit on behalf of Nova Health Systems, which operates the Reproductive Services abortion business in Tulsa, says her group will fight to stop the pro-woman law.

“It is one battle in the war, but the war shall continue,” she said, according to the New York Times.

Senator Todd Lamb, a Republican from Edmond, also talked with the Times and said the bill is needed.

“Before that mother goes through the procedure, we believe it is positive public policy to give her as much information as possible about that baby,” he said. “She might just change her mind and, who knows, that baby could be a future Nobel Prize winner.”

Mary Spaulding Balch, the director of state legislation for the National right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com after the decision that NRLC and its state affiliate, Oklahomans for Life, supported the measure.

“The court’s ruling is by no means a condemnation of the commonsense protections provided for in the legislation,” Balch explained. “The court’s decision was based solely on a procedural issue and not the substantive matters addressed in the bill.”

The law also 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.

In an attempt to prohibit coercive abortions the law required abortion centers to display a simple sign stating that no-one can force a woman to have an abortion against her will. Along with protecting the essential right of conscience, the law would have prevented wrongful birth lawsuits that argue a child should have never been born.

Balch says she expects a victory, ultimately, once the lawsuit has reached its conclusion.

“When all is said and done and the dust has settled from today’s ruling we fully expect that each of these laws will be given full effect in Oklahoma,” Balch said.

Judge Vickie Robertson, who temporarily blocked enforcement of the law in October pending the outcome of the case, heard from abortion advocates who claimed letting women get more information is a bad thing.

Teresa Collett, special assistant attorney general who is defending the law, said none of the claims of the abortion advocates have any merit. She said a jury trial is unlikely because the facts are not in dispute in the case.

Collett, a pro-life attorney representing the state, told KFOR previously that the law is perfectly constitutional.

"In this instance, the plaintiffs are trying to avoid what’s clearly a constitutional law because they are trying to establish a right to abortion under the state constitution. It just doesn’t exist. Abortion has been illegal in this state since 1890, since we were a territory," she said.

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."

Related web sites:
Oklahomans for Life – https://www.okforlife.org
Oklahoma State Legislature – https://www.lsb.state.ok.us
National Right to Life – https://www.nrlc.org

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