Oklahoma Ultrasound Case: Law Remains Struck DownBy: Bennett Rieser - November 13, 2013
NewsOK.com, along with Reuters and the AP, report that the U.S. Supreme Court declined any review of a 2012 Oklahoma Supreme Court decision to strike down the law that forced any woman who wanted to abort their fetus to be shown a live ultrasound of that fetus and have it explained by a doctor.
By declining to review Pruitt v. Nova Health Systems, without comment the Supreme Court upheld the Oklahoma court’s ruling, making this the second time this month that the nation’s highest court has rejected an appeal from Oklahoma on an abortion case. Last week, they declined to review an Oklahoma law that restricted usage of RU-486.
Gov. Mary Fallin (R) expressed disappointment in the decision. “The U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited states like Oklahoma from banning abortion, despite the fact that our citizens are overwhelmingly pro-life… Now the courts have taken their hostility to pro-life legislation a step further, prohibiting the state from providing more information to women about their unborn children,” she said.
Nancy Northrup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, lauded the decision. “A woman’s personal, private medical decisions should be made in consultation with the health care professionals she trusts, without interference by politicians who presume to know better… The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand another strong decision by the Oklahoma courts protecting a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy from the intrusion of politicians opposed to her rights and indifferent to her health,” she said.
The Oklahoma ultrasound debate began in 2010 with a law that required physicians to perform an abdominal or transvaginal ultrasound and explain the image of the fetus to the patient. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit in April of that year challenging the law on behalf of several plaintiffs: the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, a non-profit Tulsa healthcare facility, Dr. Larry Burns, and Nova Health Systems.
In May 2010, an Oklahoma district court judge temporarily restrained the order. It took almost another two years until a permanent injunction was filed in March 2012. The injunction was challenged, but upheld by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in December 2012.
The AP notes that 23 states have already approved abortion-regulating legislation, with three of those states holding laws like those that Oklahoma’s courts refused to permit: Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Texas.[Image via Wikimedia Commons]