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Oklahoma AG appeals ruling invalidating ultrasound bill

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt [official website] on Thursday appealed a ruling by a district court judge that held that an abortion ultrasound bill [HB 2780, PDF] is unconstitutional. In his appeal, Pruitt argued [Tulsa World report] that the district court's ruling prevents women from obtaining important medical information that ultrasounds provide. HB 2780 mandates that any woman seeking an abortion must get an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure and have the doctor who provides the abortion explain the ultrasound to her. A judge for the Oklahoma County District Court [official website] struck down the law [JURIST report] in March, saying that it unconstitutionally singled out patients, doctors and sonographers. Pruitt plans to ask the Oklahoma Supreme Court [official website] to reverse the district court's decision.

Oklahoma has been at the center of controversy recently regarding reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder]. Two weeks ago Pruitt appealed a ruling [JURIST report] that struck down an Oklahoma law restricting how doctors can use abortion-inducing drugs to treat patients. In April 2011 Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin [official profile] signed into law [JURIST report] a bill [HB 1888 materials] prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. The law allows abortions past the 20-week mark only in certain extenuating circumstances where the mother faces death or serious injury. A doctor who performs an abortion in violation of the time limit would be subject to criminal prosecution for a felony, but the woman undergoing the procedure would not face a penalty. Last year an Oklahoma state judge extended a temporary injunction [JURIST report] blocking enforcement of HB 2780.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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