Oklahoma Supreme Court blocks abortion law on hospital privileges

OKLAHOMA CITY–The Oklahoma Supreme Court has thrown out a law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

The court on Tuesday said the law violates the U.S. Constitution by creating an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion. The court also said the law violates the Oklahoma Constitution by including more than one subject in the measure.

The ruling overturns a lower court’s decision in February that upheld the law.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the law on behalf of Dr. Larry Burns. The Norman physician has said he applied for admitting privileges at hospitals in the Oklahoma City area, but was turned down.

Supporters of the law say it protects the health and safety of women

Senate Bill 1848 was signed by Governor Mary Fallin in May 2014 and forced reproductive health care clinics to have a physician with admitting privileges at a local hospital on-site when abortion procedures are performed. Such requirements serve no medical purpose and have been denounced by leading medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“Whether in Oklahoma, Texas or elsewhere, allowing politicians to trample women’s rights by shutting down clinics is not only wrong–it’s dangerous.
Today’s decision is a victory for Oklahoma women and another rebuke to politicians pushing underhanded laws that attack a woman’s constitutionally guaranteed right to safe, legal abortion,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We will continue to stand with Oklahoma women in beating back these relentless political schemes designed to make the right to safe, legal abortion a right that only exists on paper.”