Oklahoma Ultrasound Law Temporarily Suspended
By John Jalsevac
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 4, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Any notion that abortionists routinely give women accurate medical information about their pregnancy received a serious blow in recent months, after the release of a series of undercover videotapes by Live Action showing abortion clinic employees misleading young girls about the development of their unborn child, apparently in an effort to pressure them to go through with an abortion.
Now one groundbreaking, but controversial, Oklahoman law that tackles the issue head-on by requiring abortionists to give women all the facts before they undergo an abortion, has been temporarily suspended by Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich.
The law mandates that women receive an ultrasound within an hour of undergoing an abortion, and that the ultrasound technician turn the monitor towards the mother so she can see, and describe the unborn child.
“We’re sorry to see implementation of the law delayed,” said Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life and vice president of the National Right to Life Committee. “This has been a long process and apparently it will be a little longer.”
“The abortion industry would like to hide the truth from women about their unborn children.”
The temporary restraining order was put in place pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the law.
The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which is leading the charge against the law, has labeled it as “extreme” and “unconstitutional.” CRR claims that the law “forces” a woman to hear information that she may not want to hear and that may not be relevant to her medical care.
CRR had successfully challenged an abortion-related omnibus bill that included the ultrasound language and that was passed in 2008, but that was later struck down by the state Supreme Court for violating the single-issue rule.
The ultrasound law has touched a nerve with pro-abortion forces, evoking impassioned opposition. Brittany Novotny, a Democrat running for State House, has labeled the required ultrasounds state-mandated “rape by instrumentation.”
But supporters of the law say that it simply ensures that women are able to give their informed consent. “It’s part of the informed consent before she makes an irrevocable decision,” said the law’s author, Rep. Lisa Billy, R-Lindsay, according to NewsOK. “Why wouldn’t we allow her all that information?”
“We believe the ultrasound bill will provide much needed information to women in advance of an irrevocable, lethal decision, and that both she and her baby will benefit from her having that information,” Tony Lauinger had told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) late last month.
Despite overwhelming support for the law in the state legislature, the legislation has travelled a long and rocky road. After being passed as part of the omnibus bill in 2008, and then challenged in court and defeated, the ultrasound language was re-introduced into the legislature as a separate bill. That bill passed both Houses last month, but was then vetoed by Governor Brad Henry.
Only three days after the veto, however, the House overwhelmingly voted to override the veto, and the Senate followed suit the next day.
Nevertheless, it appears that the battle over the legislation may just be beginning. While the Center for Reproductive Rights seems determined to ensure that the law does not remain on Oklahoma’s books, pro-life forces say they are convinced that the law will withstand any legal challenge that is thrown at it.
Tony Lauinger told LSN that his organization believes that the law is constitutional and stands well with U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Oklahoma House Passes Pro-Life Bills by Massive Margin
Oklahoma Senate Overrides Governor Veto of Pro-Life Legislation