A judge has halted yet another controversial abortion law in the state of Oklahoma. In late April 2010 the Oklahoma Legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of one of the strictest abortion laws in the country that replaces another one currently in litigation.
According to ABC News, the new legislation calls for all women who are to receive an abortion must get and view an ultrasound before undergoing the procedure. Women must also be read a description of the fetus as to the general state of the health of the baby. Governor Brad Henry vetoed two separate bills because he knew they would end up in court just like the previous one.
Governor Henry was correct. A judge has stopped the new law until an injunction hearing in July. Attorneys on both sides agreed to the block in an article on the Associated Press website.
Back in December, a judge struck down a previous law that said anyone receiving an abortion in Oklahoma would be asked a series of questions. The catch was that those answers, and the names of those women getting the procedure, would become public record and be posted on the internet for all to see. The law passed last fall has been ruled that it violated Oklahoma’s Constitution.
This new law was sent through the legislature to replace the one that is already in litigation. So now the number of Oklahoma abortion laws caught up in the courts is double what it was in December of 2009.
Days after the new law was passed, reports came out of abortion clinics that women were leaving in tears. Even victims of rape and incest were also shown an ultrasound and read a description as per state law, making this one of the toughest in the state.
Two things were listed in the lawsuit as complaints against the law. One is that is unnecessarily causes pain and suffering to women who are getting a sometimes painful medical procedure made worse by circumstances such as rape or incest. Second is that the law dictates what doctors can and cannot say to a patient receiving an abortion which can coerce a decision about women seeking medical treatment.
Fourteen other states have sonogram requirements but none of them require the mother to view the fetus. Objections stem from the restrictive law that forces women to view the sonogram before undergoing the procedure. Doctors need to do an ultrasound anyway to see the fetus before aborting it but only Oklahoma’s law states that women must look at the image.