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District judge sides with Oklahoma abortion rights group

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A District judge has sided with an Oklahoma abortion rights group.

District Judge Patricia Parrish struck down an Oklahoma anti-abortion law Monday.

This specific statute restricted doctor's who treat women choosing a non-surgical abortion early in their pregnancy.

Last year, the state legislature passed an anti-abortion law restricting the way doctors prescribe medication abortions.

The statute was an updated version of a previous law which was already ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Oklahoma Coalition For Reproductive Justice (OCRJ) challenged the law.

"This law is unconstitutional because it's singling out these medications solely when they're used for ending a pregnancy," said Autumn Katz, an attorney with the Center For Reproductive Rights.

The statute was very specific, restricting off-label use of abortion medications, which are typically prescribed by physicians in the first nine weeks of a pregnancy.

A medication abortion consists of a two-pill combo administered over two days that will end a pregnancy.

The anti-abortion law actually never took effect in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court put a hold on the 2014 statute until the courts ruled on constitutionality.

Monday morning, Judge Parrish ruled against the state, finding summary judgment for the plaintiffs.

"We're very pleased that the women of Oklahoma can continue to get the reproductive care they need and to do so in the safest manner possible," said Katz. "The judge recognized that the legislature shouldn't be able to single out these drugs in this way."

According to reproductive rights advocates, two million American women have had this type of medication abortion since the FDA approved the drug combination in 2000.

"The law the Oklahoma legislature tried to pass to restrict medication abortion was found unconstitutional," said OCRJ  President, Karo Chowning. "To constantly be defending restrictions on abortion, it's pretty frustrating."

Judge Parrish said in court that she had no choice but to side with the plaintiffs.

Parris said both the state and the U.S. Supreme Court have already ruled on this issue that "This law served no purpose other than to prevent women from getting an abortion."

The state is expected to appeal.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office released a statement saying he was displeased with the judge's ruling.

“The attorney general disagrees with the court’s analysis and will appeal the ruling. As the attorney general has maintained throughout the course of litigation, the legislature was within its constitutional authority to take steps to prevent off-label uses of abortion drugs in order to protect the health and safety of Oklahoma women.” -Aaron Cooper, Director of Communications

 

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