Judge Extends Order Blocking Okla. Abortion Law

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An Oklahoma judge granted an injunction on Monday stopping the enforcement of a state law mandating pregnant women be shown ultrasound images of their unborn babies.

Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich directed that the state not enforce the law, which had been passed by the legislature earlier this year and she ordered a pretrial hearing scheduled for Jan. 21. A temporary restraining order had been in place against the law since May.

Abortion rights groups have hailed the court's decision as a victory for their side.

Pro-life groups say the law made good practical sense because it gave mothers vital information about their unborn babies.

Special Assistant Attorney General Teresa Collett, a University of St. Thomas Law School professor retained to defend the statute by the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office, said the law merely requires that the information be shared with the patient.

"This is nothing more than an informed consent law," Collett said. She said it does not violate the free speech rights of providers but provides women with information they need to decide whether to proceed with an abortion.

Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life and vice president of the National Right to Life Committee, said he was disappointed that enforcement of the statute will be further delayed.

"We would like to see the law implemented as soon as possible," Lauinger said. "This is information that pregnant women badly need."

The ultrasound law was one of eight pro-life laws passed by the legislature earlier this year.

Pro-abortion groups say if they are able to scuttle this one measure, they will likely go after the others.

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