Pro-life Law Struck Down in Oklahoma

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Women in Oklahoma will no longer be required to get an ultrasound before having an abortion.

A state judge struck down a pro-life law that required doctors to do an ultrasound along with describing the fetus to the woman before the abortion begins.

Mary Spaulding Balch, the director of state legislation for the National right to Life Committee, told after the decision that NRLC and its state affiliate, Oklahomans for Life, supported the measure.

"The court's ruling is by no means a condemnation of the commonsense protections provided for in the legislation," Balch said. "The court's decision was based solely on a procedural issue and not the substantive matters addressed in the bill."

The judge ruled the law violated an Oklahoma constitutional requirement, which says laws can only deal with one subject at a time.

The law that was overturned, known as SB 1878, was an omnibus bill that addressed five abortion-related issues.

Aside from the ultrasound requirement and the description of the fetus, the law included:

-protection for conscience rights of health professionals to refuse to participate in abortions;

-limits on the use of the abortion drug RU 486;

-requires abortion clinics to post a sign stating no one can force a woman to have an abortion.

Along with protecting the essential right of conscience, the law would have prevented wrongful birth lawsuits that argue a child should have never been born.

Although it appears to be a major defeat for pro-life advocates, Balch says she expects a victory once the lawsuit has reached its conclusion.

"When all is said and done and the dust has settled from (the) ruling, we fully expect that each of these laws will be given full effect in Oklahoma," Balch said.

Abortion has been illegal in Oklahoma since it became a territory in 1890.

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