Court Strikes Down Intrusive OK Abortion Law, Declares Unconstitutional
02.19.10 - (PRESS RELEASE) New York, NY – Today, an Oklahoma County District Court declared unconstitutional a state law that would have imposed a host of restrictions related to abortion and cost the state over a quarter million dollars a year to implement, blocking the state from enforcing the law. The court ruled that the bill passed by the legislature addressed too many disparate topics and therefore violated the Oklahoma Constitution’s “single-subject” rule which requires laws only address one topic at a time. One of the provisions would have required doctors to request detailed personal information from patients who have had abortions and report that data to the state health department who will then post it on a public website.
“We are very pleased with today’s ruling,” said Jennifer Mondino, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The government has no business running a grand inquisition into the private lives of Oklahoma women and wasting a quarter of a million dollars of tax payers’ money in the process.”
The law also would have banned abortions based on a woman’s gender preference for her child; created new responsibilities for state health agencies to gather and analyze abortion data and enforce abortion restrictions; and redefined a number of abortion-related terms used in Oklahoma law. The Center filed a challenge against the law in September on behalf of former state representative Wanda Stapleton and Shawnee, Oklahoma resident Lora Joyce Davis.
This is the second time in two years that the Oklahoma legislature has tried to restrict abortion in the state by bundling numerous provisions into one bill. In September, the Oklahoma District Court struck down another state law imposing various abortion restrictions, including the most extreme ultrasound requirement in the country, ruling that it violated the state’s single subject rule.