(PRESS RELEASE) Today, an Oklahoma County District Court temporarily blocked enforcement of a new abortion law that would have imposed a host of restrictions on women’s access to abortion and cost the state over a quarter of a million dollars a year to implement. The judge extended the temporary restraining order currently in place until the case is heard on February 19, 2010.
“We are very pleased with today’s ruling. This law is a profound intrusion on women’s privacy and a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Jennifer Mondino, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, the organization that filed the challenge. “Women in Oklahoma should not have to jump through hoops to access legal medical care and the government has no business violating the state constitution to impose those obstacles.”
The law requires doctors to request detailed personal information from patients who have had abortions and report the data to the state health department who will then post it on a public website. The law also creates new responsibilities for state health agencies to gather and analyze abortion data and enforce abortion restrictions, redefines a number of abortion-related terms used in Oklahoma law, and bans abortion based on a woman’s preference for a particular gender for her child.
The Center filed a legal challenge against the law on September 29, arguing that it violated the state’s single-subject rule which requires laws only address one topic at a time. This law violates Oklahoma’s constitution by covering four distinct topics. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Oklahoma taxpayers – former state representative Wanda Stapleton and Shawnee resident Lora Joyce Davis.
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.