A law requiring minimal medical care for women at abortion clinics has been upheld by a judge despite a legal challenge by out-of-state pro-abortion advocates.
Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews ruled that a 2014 law that mandates that physicians who perform abortions in Oklahoma must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic is constitutional. Andrews said the law is consistent with the government’s interest in caring for women’s health.
“The state has a legitimate, constitutionally recognized interest in protecting women’s health,” the judge ruled. “Requiring physicians to maintain admitting privileges at a hospital furthers that interest inasmuch as the physician must demonstrate competency in the surgical procedures that they perform.”
Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he was pleased the court agreed that Senate Bill 1848 is constitutional.
“Oklahoma lawmakers passed this bill to protect the health and safety of Oklahoma women requiring quick and efficient emergency care. The law requires abortion facilities to follow health and safety protocols similar to those for outpatient surgical centers and birthing centers,” Pruitt said. “The attorney general’s office will continue to defend this law and others enacted to protect Oklahomans’ health and safety.”
Abortionist Larry A. Burns of the Abortion Surgery Center of Norman, one of three abortion clinics in Oklahoma, and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (abortion) wanted the law stricken because it would hurt Burns’s business. The pro-abortion center has challenged Oklahoma laws eight times in the last five years.
The law went into effect on November 1, 2014, after being easily approved in the House and Senate and signed by the governor. But the liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked its enforcement and that action will remain in effect until the Supreme Court decides the case once more.
Paperwork for an initiative petition to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to outlaw abortion has been filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. If approved, the petition would need to collect 123,725 signatures to appear on the November ballot.