Okla. Governor Signs Texas-style Abortion Restriction into Law

Unnecessary Requirement Will Severely Restrict Access to Abortion

May 28, 2014 1:45 pm

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed into law a Texas-style medically unnecessary regulation that could severely restrict access for the state’s nearly 2 million women. The law requires that a doctor with admitting privileges at a local hospital be on site.

Doctors and major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose these laws because they do little to further patient safety. Rather, they harm women by cutting off access to safe, legal abortions.

“Abortion is already incredibly safe – 99 percent safe, according to the CDC,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “That’s why major medical groups like ACOG and AMA oppose these bills. Because they don’t make women safer, they just cut women off from safe, legal care.”

Like the Texas law, which has left large portions of the state with no clinic and forced women to travel hundreds of miles to get the care they need, the Oklahoma bill singles out doctors who provide abortions. It requires only those doctors to have admitting privileges, which are a business arrangement between a hospital and a doctor, at a local hospital.

The Texas-style abortion restriction, and the other bills proposed by the Oklahoma legislature, is part of a nationwide plan to pass restrictions that will shut down women’s health centers and prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortions. In addition to the Texas law Mississippi, Alabama, and Wisconsin have passed similar laws. Those laws have been challenged. The Alabama case went to trial May 19, and the Wisconsin case on May 27. The Mississippi law, which would force the only remaining clinic in the state to close, was argued before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 28. In addition, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to sign a similar law.

Physicians who provide abortions are often unable to obtain hospital privileges for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with their experience, qualifications, or credentials, including the hospital’s opposition to abortion and the hospital’s financial interests.

More information on the Alabama case can be found at: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-southeast-inc-reproductive-health-services-et-al-v-bentley

More information on the Wisconsin case can be found at: https://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-wisconsin-v-van-hollen

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