Oklahoma Supreme Court blocks enforcement of abortion laws

Oklahoma Supreme Court blocks enforcement of abortion laws

[JURIST] The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked [opinions] the enforcement of two abortion related laws until their constitutionality is fully litigated. House Bill 2684 [text, PDF], passed in 2012, limits medication abortions to the first seven weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. Senate Bill 1848 [text, PDF] provides for more restrictions on the operation of abortion clinics within the state. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice [advocacy website] and physician Larry Burns challenged both laws as placing unconstitutional restrictions on women. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has remanded the cases to the trial court for determination of the laws’ constitutionality. The director of communications for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt [official website] said, “[t]he attorney general’s office will defend these constitutional laws from the challenge of out-of-state abortion supporters.”

Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] continue to be a hot-button legal issue throughout the US, with a number of states proposing laws to limit abortions. Last month the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed [JURIST report] an existing state law limiting the use of drugs in abortion procedures. Also last month Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed an appeal asking the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] to reverse a July ruling [JURIST report] that a 2012 state law requiring abortion clinic doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges is unconstitutional. In August the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division ruled [JURIST report] that Alabama’s recently enacted [JURIST op-ed] requirement [HB 57] that all doctors who provide abortions must have staff privileges to perform designated procedures at a local hospital is unconstitutional.