In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court found that the law “creates an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion, violating protected rights under our federal constitution.” It also found that it violates the Oklahoma Constitution as well as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court decision six months ago that struck down a Texas law that, among other things, required admitting privileges of doctors who perform abortions.
It is the latest abortion regulation to be struck down in light of that recent high-court decision, which increased the burden on lawmakers to show that evidence supports a restriction enacted in the name of patient health. Shortly after that ruling, the Supreme Court let stand lower-court decisions in Mississippi and Wisconsin blocking admitting privileges laws. It also prompted groups last month to file lawsuits over laws in North Carolina, Missouri and Alaska on the grounds that the regulations are medically unnecessary.
“Today’s decision is a victory for Oklahoma women and another rebuke to politicians pushing underhanded laws that attack a woman’s constitutionally guaranteed right to safe, legal abortion,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. Her organization helped represent the plaintiff, Larry A. Burns, a doctor from Norman, Okla.
In a report issued separately Tuesday, Americans United for Life, an antiabortion group, enumerated violations recorded against abortion clinics in 32 states. The data show the need for regulations on clinics and doctors, such as ones that require admitting privileges, the organization said.
Because of the Whole Woman’s Health decision, “many of these protective laws may now be in jeopardy, subject to legal challenges brought by an increasingly predatory abortion industry more motivated by profit margins than by protecting the very women it claims to champion,” the group said.