Since 1992, the Center’s innovative legal work has fundamentally transformed the landscape of reproductive health and rights worldwide, and has already strengthened laws and policies in more than 50 countries. CRR in the Field is a personal look at the various ways Center staff interacts with plaintiffs, policy makers, governing bodies, and supporters at home and abroad to further the fight for reproductive rights.
On April 27, 2010, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a challenge against Oklahoma legislation which prohibits a woman from getting an abortion unless she first has an ultrasound, is shown the ultrasound image and listens to her doctor describe the image in detail. Center attorneys Stephanie Toti and Suzanne Stolz traveled to Oklahoma for a hearing on a motion to intervene in the case from several parties, including Operation Outcry and American Victims of Abortion.
Q: Why are you traveling to Oklahoma?
A: We are traveling to Oklahoma for a hearing in the Center’s lawsuit challenging a mandatory ultrasound law.
Q: Why is the Center challenging the ultrasound legislation in Oklahoma?
A: The law is the first of its kind in the nation, and it sets a dangerous precedent for politicians to intrude in the doctor-patient relationship. The law prohibits a woman from having an abortion unless, at least an hour before the procedure, she submits to an ultrasound exam and her doctor describes the image to her in detail. A woman is not permitted to decline the ultrasound exam or the detailed description.
Q: An Oklahoma state court struck down a similar ultrasound provision in 2009. Why does this issue keep coming back up?
A: In 2009, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar statute on the ground that it was improperly bundled with other legislation. Last year, the Oklahoma legislature reenacted it on its own.
Q: Why is Oklahoma allowed to pass restrictions like this? Doesn’t it conflict with Roe v. Wade?
A: The mandatory ultrasound law violates numerous constitutional rights, and we expect the court to strike it down. In May, the court issued a temporary injunction against the law after concluding that the Center’s clients have a likelihood of success in the lawsuit.