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Okla. Judge Rejects Legal Challenge to Antiabortion-Rights Law

Oklahoma County District Judge Thomas Prince last week rejected a legal challenge to a state law (SB 642) that imposes multiple restrictions on abortion providers and patients, AP/KOCO 5 reports.

A temporary injunction against the law will remain in place until the case is resolved (AP/KOCO 5, 1/14).

Background

In November 2015, the Center for Reproductive Rights petitioned an Oklahoma court to maintain a temporary injunction against SB 642 until a hearing took place.

The law, which was scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, 2015, encompasses four abortion-related measures, including required parental consent for minors receiving abortions, preservation of fetal tissue, investigations into abortion clinics and enforcement of penalties for abortion providers.

The law expands on an existing prohibition on minors' access to abortion. It also mandates that abortion providers preserve fetal tissue from abortions obtained by minors under age 14 and give the tissue samples to the State Bureau of Investigation. In addition, the law requires the Oklahoma Department of Health to implement policies that grant broad authority to enter and examine abortion facilities for inspections related to clinic licensure. The law also creates civil and criminal penalties, in addition to civil liability, for violating antiabortion-rights requirements.

CRR filed a lawsuit on behalf of Larry Burns, an abortion provider in Norman, Okla. According to the lawsuit, the law violates the state constitution, which mandates that legislation cover only one subject.

The state Supreme Court in October heard oral arguments in the lawsuit and put a 30-day hold on SB 642. CRR was told to refile its petition in district court in that 30-day timeframe. The hold would have expired without the district court filing (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/5/15).

Latest Developments

Prince rejected CRR's challenge to the constitutionality of SB 642, ruling that the legislation's content is all related to compliance regulations for abortion care (AP/KOCO 5, 1/14).