Reproductive rights advocates, abortion providers file suit to block Oklahoma abortion restrictions
Reproductive rights advocates, abortion providers file suit to block Oklahoma abortion restrictions

A coalition of reproductive rights advocates and abortion providers filed a lawsuit on Thursday in an Oklahoma district court aiming to block five Oklahoma state laws that ban and restrict abortion care. The laws are scheduled to take effect on November 1.

The laws would ban abortion care as early as six weeks, which is before many people know they are pregnant and roughly four months before viability. The laws require an ultrasound 72 hours prior to abortion, which the Oklahoma Supreme Court has already declared unconstitutional. Medical abortion would be severely restricted.

To perform an abortion, doctors would be required to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology; this disqualifies board-certified family medicine doctors from providing abortion care. The suit claimed that “[s]ix out of 10 of plaintiffs’ doctors will be barred from providing care under the OB/GYN requirement without any medical justification.”

Performing an abortion would be “unprofessional conduct,” and the minimum penalty is a license suspension of one year. Even more severely, doctors who perform an abortion after cardiac activity is detected are committing homicide under the law.

The suit asserted that the laws deprive people of their “constitutionally protected right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy before viability.” The plaintiffs seek a ruling that the laws are unconstitutional and void. The suit demands and temporary and permanent injunction preventing the laws from taking effect, as well as reasonable attorney fees and costs for the plaintiffs.  

The Oklahoma laws are similar to a Texas abortion ban that took effect on Wednesday, which the Supreme Court refused to block.