OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill requiring that physicians inform patients that a medically induced abortion may be reversible is now being challenged in court.
The bill directs that signage be posted in facilities where abortions are performed. Physicians would also be required to inform women that the process may be reversed after they ingest the first of two abortion-inducing pills.
“If you continue to perform the abortion without the signage posted, without the notice, then there are penalties and fines associated,” said House bill author Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore. “If it’s a doctor, you could be charged with a felony. If it’s a facility, then you could be charged $10,000 a day.”
Lepak said the purpose of the bill is to give women a second chance to reconsider.
“A number of women have regret after the abortion. They may have a regret during the process but, if they don’t know there may be a way to reverse the process, then they just don’t know,” Lepak told News 4. “There are a lot of things in this world that, once you make a decision, you can’t undo. This is perhaps one that you can change your mind and you still have some hope that you could deliver a happy, healthy baby.”
However, there is some push back on the bill.
Jill Webb, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said a lawsuit was not out of the question if Senate Bill 614 was signed into law.
“Arizona, for instance, immediately had it challenged, and what they did was reverse the policy even before it got to court for determination,” Webb said. “Not only do you have freedom of speech to say what you want, you also can’t be compelled to say something you don’t believe, and that’s what the problem is.”
Opponents also cited a lack of medical evidence and proven studies showing abortions can be reversed. They say there is also concern about whether the reversal was safe for the health of the mother.
Now, an abortion-rights group is challenging the new law.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of a Tulsa abortion clinic and its owner, Dr. Alan Braid. The attorneys representing Braid are from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.
The law is set to go into effect Nov. 1.
A federal judge in North Dakota blocked a similar law earlier this month.