OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma judge has ruled against a law that required women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and a doctor’s description of the fetus.
Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson granted a permanent injunction against the law Tuesday afternoon, saying it violated constitutional requirements that legislative measures deal only with one subject.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys had argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague and that it was not clear what the doctor should tell women undergoing the ultrasound.
Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, and a candidate for lieutenant governor, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon expressing his disappointment.
“Judge Vicki Robertson’s ruling we saw today was obviously disappointing, but as author of the legislation I am considering all available options in this situation including a formal request to the Attorney General to appeal the ruling,” Lamb stated.
The law was passed by lawmakers who overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto. Henry said it was unconscionable to require victims of rape and incest to undergo the ultrasound. Previous legal action prevented the law from going into effect last fall.
“This is emphatically not a setback for pro-life issues in our state,” Lamb stated. “Although I may have been the principal author of this legislation, the bill received bipartisan support not only on its final passage but also on the veto override. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support and I want them to know I am committed to finding a solution to this ruling.”
The bill had several provisions referenced by the judge in determining that it dealt with more than one subject.
Besides requiring an ultrasound and description of the fetus, the law:
• Allows doctors and other health care providers to refuse to take part in an abortion for moral and religious reasons.
• Requires women to sign a consent form before an abortion.
• Mandates that federal guidelines be followed in the use of the abortion pill RU-486.
• Prohibits wrongful-life lawsuits arguing a disabled child would have been better off aborted.
Lamb responded that this legislation was no different than other bills passed by the Legislature.
“The pro-life legislation was struck down based on the single subject rule, yet so much legislation that we pass in the Legislature deals with multiple provisions and multiple sections just as this bill did. I believe this bill complied with the one subject rule and is indeed constitutional,” he stated.
Senate Pro Tem Glenn Coffee agreed.“I firmly believe this legislation was in compliance with Oklahoma’s constitution, as it dealt with one subject — protecting life of the unborn,” Coffee said in a statement. “The bipartisan support behind this issue cannot be ignored and ultimately, I believe given the opportunity the constitutionality of this act will be upheld.”