The Edmond Sun

December 6, 2012

Okla. AG disputes court abortion ruling

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he disagrees with the logic behind Monday’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling declaring two abortion laws unconstitutional.

State district court judges previously blocked both laws — one that required women seeking an abortion to view their ultrasound and another that sought to prohibit use of medication to terminate a pregnancy — as violations of the Oklahoma state constitution.

On Tuesday, in separate rulings, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the decisions by the lower courts. The laws received bi-partisan support in the Legislature.

Pruitt said his office disagrees with the court’s decision, particularly regarding the view that the question on whether Oklahoma’s Constitution provides a right to an abortion was left unanswered. Pruitt said his office is also disappointed that the court upheld the district court ruling on drugs such as the abortion pill RU-486.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs leads to serious infections and death for many healthy, unsuspecting women,” Pruitt said. “This is not OK. Our job is to protect the citizens of Oklahoma and we will consider an appeal.”

Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of plaintiff Center for Reproductive Rights, hailed the decisions. Via a news release Northrup said the state’s highest court affirmed the related rights as fully protected.

“Oklahoma has long been a testing ground for a national network of organizations hostile to women, doctors and the rights of both, and these two laws are prime examples of politicians imposing their ideologies on women’s personal medical decisions,” Northrup said. “But despite their best efforts to chip away at women’s fundamental rights, the courts have consistently rejected these extreme assaults on reproductive freedom.”

In July 2010, an Oklahoma district court judge granted a temporary restraining order against the ultrasound law. A permanent injunction was granted in March 2012.

In October 2011, the drug-related law was temporarily blocked. It was permanently struck down by a district court judge in May 2012.

Approved in September 2000, Mifeprex (aka RU-486 and mifepristone) is used with another medication (misoprostol) to end an early pregnancy — within 49 days of the start of a woman’s last menstrual period, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Since its approval, the FDA has received reports of serious adverse events, including several deaths, in the United States following medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol, the agency reports on its website. | 341-2121, ext. 108