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Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Abortion Law Unconstitutional

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the state’s restrictive abortion law on Tuesday, ruling it unconstitutional.

The Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the bill in court, claiming that it unfairly targeted abortion clinics and other facilities that perform the procedure.

The legislation, Senate Bill 642, was passed last year, but the law did not go into effect pending the court decision.

The law imposed restrictions on abortion providers, which included taking fetal tissue samples from patients under the age of 14. The tissue samples were to be preserved for state investigators.

Under the law, abortion providers would face criminal penalties for violating abortion statutes. Individuals would face the same consequences for helping a minor evade a provision that requires minors to seek parental consent when getting an abortion. A stricter inspection system on abortion clinics would also have been imposed.

Lawmakers argued that the provision requiring the preservation of fetal tissue would help law enforcement capture child rapists and protect women’s health.

The court ruled unanimously that the law violated a requirement in the state’s constitution that a bill must only address a single subject. The state argued that the law did address the single subject of women’s reproductive health.

In the court’s ruling, Justice Joseph Watt wrote, “Although defendants urge that SB 642 does not constitute logrolling, we find the provisions so unrelated that those voting on this bill were faced with a constitutionally prohibited all-or-nothing choice to ensure the passage of favorable legislation.”

The court also ruled that the bill would place an “undue burden” on abortion providers.

Oklahoma abortion laws have been challenged eight times by the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the organization has a 100% success rate, according to CEO and president Nancy Northup.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision, and argues that the law would have allowed law enforcement to more easily capture child rapists.

Earlier in the year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a restrictive abortion law in Texas. A similar law in Oklahoma is on hold while its legality is considered by the Supreme Court.