Oklahoma’s Supreme Court on Monday blocked three anti-abortion laws that were scheduled to take effect Nov. 1 that abortion rights supporters say would have devastated abortion access in the state.
In a 5-3 ruling, the court granted a temporary injunction that keeps the laws from taking effect. All three appointees of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt dissented, and one judge didn’t vote.
One law would have required all doctors who perform abortions in Oklahoma to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, which would have forced about half the abortion providers in Oklahoma to stop providing abortions. The other two would create new restrictions on medication-induced abortions.
“The Oklahoma Supreme Court recognized that these laws would cause irreparable harm to Oklahomans,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which helped challenge the laws, said in a statement. “All of these laws have the same goal: to make it harder to get an abortion in Oklahoma. We will continue to fight in court to ensure these laws are struck down for good. Politicians should not be meddling in the private health decisions of Oklahomans.”
A spokeswoman for Attorney General John O’Connor didn’t immediately comment on the high court’s ruling.
Earlier this month, a district court judge temporarily blocked two other new anti-abortion laws from taking effect next month, including a measure similar to a Texas abortion ban that effectively bans the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy.
But District Judge Cindy Truong allowed the three other anti-abortion laws to take effect Nov. 1, prompting the appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Abortion clinics in Oklahoma already are being overwhelmed by patients from Texas, where the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a law to take effect on Sept. 1 that made it illegal to perform abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around the sixth week of pregnancy.
About 11 women from Texas received abortion services at the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City in August. That number increased to 110 last month, said Rebecca Tong, co-executive director of Trust Women. Similar increases are being reported at abortion clinics in Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
SOURCE: The Associated Press