(REVISED 6.2.2016) Oklahoma passed a law in 2014 requiring that physicians providing abortions obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the facility where they provide care, or face criminal and civil penalties. The requirement would drastically reduce the availability of legal abortion care for women in the state.
Plaintiff(s): Dr. Larry Burns
Center Attorney(s): Ilene Jaroslaw, Genevieve Scott
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Blake Patton
The Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the admitting privileges law in state court on behalf of Dr. Larry A. Burns—a physician with more than 42 years of experience providing safe abortion care in Norman, Oklahoma—and his patients. Dr. Burns has been unable to obtain privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of his office, with many hospitals even refusing to process his application. Dr. Burns provides abortions at one of only two licensed abortion facilities in the state and provides approximately half of abortion services for Oklahoma women.
The admitting privileges requirement was scheduled to go into effect November 1, 2014. The trial court denied Dr. Burns injunctive relief on October 24, 2014. After the Center filed an emergency appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the court temporarily blocked the law while the litigation proceeds. On February 11, 2016, the trial court ruled in the State's favor, concluding that the law is constitutional. The Plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on March 17. The law will remain blocked until the Court issues a final decision.