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Judge OKs Pro-Life Law that Disqualifies Half of Okla.’s Abortion Doctors

Michael Foust | Contributor | Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Judge OKs Pro-Life Law that Disqualifies Half of Okla.’s Abortion Doctors

Judge OKs Pro-Life Law that Disqualifies Half of Okla.’s Abortion Doctors

An Oklahoma judge on Monday blocked two new pro-life laws from taking effect but refused to block three others, including one that Planned Parenthood says would disqualify half of the state’s abortion doctors from practicing.

The rulings by Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong left both sides disappointed, although the CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights said she was “stunned” that the judge did not rule against all five laws.

Truong blocked a law that prohibits abortion if an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected. She also blocked a law that deems abortion a form of “unprofessional conduct” by doctors, according to The Oklahoman newspaper. 

But Truong let three pro-life laws remain in effect. One of those is a law that requires all medical personnel who perform abortions in the state to be “board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology.”

“This court … believes that irreparable harm would occur if we don't put this requirement into effect,” she said, according to The Oklahoman. 

The other laws she left untouched would place more restrictions on the abortion pill.

Following the judge’s ruling, Planned Parenthood issued a press release saying the OB/GYN law “would immediately disqualify over half of the abortion providers in Oklahoma from providing care.”

“We are stunned that the trial court would allow these unconstitutional laws to take effect—laws that will seriously reduce access to abortion in Oklahoma,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Right now, people in Texas are traveling to Oklahoma and other neighboring states to access abortion. If these laws take effect, it will decimate access not only in Oklahoma, but in the whole region. We will continue to fight to get these laws blocked in court.”

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor, though, said the judge’s rulings on the three laws were correct. 

“While we believe all five laws challenged in this suit are constitutional, I applaud Judge Truong for at least upholding three commonsense abortion regulations that will protect Oklahomans,” O’Connor said. “The plaintiffs in this case have indicated they will appeal, and my office will continue to vigorously defend the pro-life laws enacted by the people’s representatives. On appeal, we will continue to argue that all five of the challenged laws should be upheld because the Oklahoma Constitution does not protect the right to abortion.”

Photo credit: Rawpixel/Unsplash

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.