Oct. 29, 2013 ( – The Oklahoma Supreme Court formally wrote this afternoon that an Oklahoma state law requiring abortionists to follow FDA guidelines while administering RU-486 “effectively bans all medication abortions” – a decision that could harm the law's chances of surviving a challenge to the United States Supreme Court.

The state law, known as HB 1970 (full text here), passed by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of the Oklahoma legislature, and was signed into law by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin in May 2011. It mandated that abortionists give a woman a health exam before dispensing RU-486, effectively banning so-called “webcam” or “telemed” abortions, in which abortion drugs are dispensed remotely by an abortionist over a webcam. 

The law was challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights, and formally struck down by a district court and then the state’s Supreme Court.


The United States Supreme Court accepted the case, but asked the state Court for “a definitive ruling about the scope of the law.”

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life (AUL), said today that the Oklahoma Court’s ruling continues “a pattern of issuing strained decisions to strike down abortion regulations.” 

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In a statement AUL accused the Court of having “expressly ignored the language of the law that allowed RU-486 to be used when FDA protocols are followed,” as well as the fact that legislators only approved RU-486 under the understanding that its use would be strictly regulated.

“This decision places women’s lives at risk while siding with an abortion industry bent on pushing women in and out of clinics quickly, without regard to their health or best interests,” said Dr. Yoest.

Susan B. Anthony List Communications Director Mallory Quigley told LifeSiteNews that despite the women dying “at the hands of unscrupulous abortion business, the abortion lobby continues to fight regulation nationwide – even common sense laws like Oklahoma’s requirement that abortionists follow FDA-advised uses for dangerous drugs.” 

“We hope to see the Supreme Court affirm the action taken by Oklahoma legislators to protect women.”

In a public statement, Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt similarly stated the state’s Supreme Court “erred…by interpreting the law more broadly than the Legislature intended.”

The case will now go back to America’s highest court for a ruling. 

Pro-abortion activists are declaring a first victory after today’s ruling. Center for Reproductive Justice President Nancy Northup said the decision shows that the law constitutes a “cruel ban on medication abortion” in a statement praising the state Court.

“Today’s decision from the Oklahoma Supreme Court strongly reaffirms that this blatantly unconstitutional law was designed to not only rob women of the safe, legal, and effective option of medication to end a pregnancy at its earliest stages, but also threaten the health, lives, and future fertility of women suffering from ectopic pregnancies,” she said.

LifeSiteNews contacted the Center to clarify its statement. No response was immediately received. 

In 2011, the FDA reported that over 2,200 women had experienced complications following use of abortion-inducing drugs, with eight women dying from severe bacterial infection. 


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