‘We cannot overstate the harm this decision will have’: Oklahoma judge upholds ban on common abortion procedure

‘We will keep fighting this unconstitutional ban to make sure Oklahomans have access to the best medical treatment.’

The Center for Reproductive Rights on Friday announced its intention to keep fighting after an Oklahoma court upheld a ban on a common abortion procedure.

“We cannot overstate the harm this decision will have on women in Oklahoma,” said Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), in a statement. CRR filed the suit on behalf of Tulsa Women’s Clinic to have the law stricken down.

Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong’s ruling upholds House Bill 1721, a 2015 law that “targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is frequently used during second-trimester abortions,” as Rewire‘s legislative tracker noted.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has called D and E “evidence-based and medically preferred because it results in the fewest complications for women compared to alternative procedures.” Efforts to ban any particular type of procedure, the group said, “represent legislative interference at its worst: doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients. This is unacceptable.”

As CRR said in its statement, Truong’s ruling bucks a trend: other state courts ruling on similar bans in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, and Texas blocked them from taking effect. The U.S. Supreme Court also said last month it would not hear Alabama’s appeal to keep its similar law on the books.

“Politicians should never take medical options off the table for pregnant patients,” said Rikelman. The Oklahoma law, she said, “bans care that women need and doctors recommend, and is part of a national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to push abortion care out of reach by passing hundreds of laws that limit access. We will keep fighting this unconstitutional ban to make sure Oklahomans have access to the best medical treatment.”

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Andrea Germanos is senior editor and a staff writer for Common Dreams, where this was originally published. Email: andrea@commondreams.org.

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