Oklahoma high court tosses two abortion laws
BY World's Editorials Writers
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 3:18 AM
It comes as no surprise to many observers that the Oklahoma Supreme Court, without a single dissenting vote, tossed out two abortion-restricting laws passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in the last couple of years.
The court's unambiguous decisions ought to be a message to lawmakers to give up on this line of legislation and find something productive to do with their time. But, of course, these decisions will have no such effect on the fanatics who think interfering in women's health-care decision-making is their top calling.
The high court found House Bill 2780 unconstitutional, upholding the ruling of an Oklahoma County District Court along the same lines. That law would have required ultrasounds to be performed on women seeking abortions within an hour of the procedure, and a verbal explanation of what the procedure showed to be provided. This particular law has been copied elsewhere and has continued to fuel controversy across the nation.
Eight justices concurred in the decision. Justice Noma Gurich recused herself because she made an earlier ruling in the case when she was an Oklahoma Count district judge.
By a unanimous 9-0 decision, the court also found House Bill 1970 unconstitutional. That measure would have required doctors to follow certain federal guidelines in prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, a requirement advocates say is impossible to follow because the guidelines don't exist.
In making its decisions, the court cited a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision barring the imposition of a "substantial obstacle" on women seeking abortions.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said his office is considering an appeal of the latest two decisions, which means more taxpayer money likely will be wasted on this misguided effort to control doctor-patient interaction and the practice of medicine - but only when women are concerned. And it's a safe bet that more of the same is on the way, as Oklahoma has become the proving ground for misogynistic legislation.
At least we have judges who have the courage to do their jobs and make the decisions that must and ought to be made.
Original Print Headline: No surprise