OK Supreme Court invalidates law restricting abortion, PPGP applauds decision

Dr. Larry Burns, who performs nearly half of Oklahoma's abortions, was praised by Planned Parenthood Great Plains on victory over abortion restrictions in state Supreme Court decision. AP Photo, Sue Ogrocki, File.

Oklahoma City (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has thrown out another state law that would put new restrictions on abortion providers.

The unanimous opinion handed down Tuesday says the statute adopted by the Legislature last year "contains different and unrelated purposes" in violation of the state's constitution's requirement that legislation cover a single subject.

The law encompasses four abortion-related topics: minors and parental consent, tissue preservation, inspection of clinics and legal liability for abortion providers.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the law and the state's highest court subsequently blocked it from going into effect.

Lincoln Ferguson, a spokesman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office, says the law was drafted to protect the health and safety of women and that the Supreme Court's decision is disappointing.

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Planned Parenthood Great Plains praises decision on SB 642.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains issued a press release after news of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision on SB 642, which would have severely restricted access to abortion in the state. Here is PPGP’s statement:

Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) congratulates its partners Dr. Larry Burns, his patients and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on their win today in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Today, the court struck down SB642, a bill that would have enforced medically unnecessary restrictions against abortion providers. The court stated Omnibus Senate Bill 642 violated the single subject rule, which states bills can only be passed pertaining to one single subject matter at a time.

A concurring opinion by Justices Douglas Combs, Norma Gurich and Yvonne Kauger also reasoned that SB642 would have placed an undue burden on women seeking safe, legal abortion:

“It is an inescapable conclusion that SB642 will make it considerably more difficult for providers to operate, and accordingly will make it more difficult for the women of Oklahoma to exercise their federally-recognized constitutional right to control their own reproductive futures.”

“SB642 was nothing but an attempt to force extreme ideology on patients and doctors in Oklahoma. We congratulate Dr. Burns and CRR for protecting patient access to critical sexual and reproductive health care and every doctor’s right to provide safe, legal abortion care,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO, Laura McQuade said.

“In this decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has made it clear that extremist politicians and their anti-choice agenda will not pass legal muster. Let this be a warning to all legislators, that their efforts to subvert the constitution are a waste of taxpayer time and money and they will be challenged every time. Instead, we urge them to pass laws that protect the health and well-being of Oklahomans,” McQuade said.

The Gayly – October 4, 2016 @ 4:50 p.m.