Abortion rights advocates sue to block pending Oklahoma laws

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A coalition of abortion rights advocates, clinics and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to block recent Oklahoma anti-abortion legislation from taking effect.

The lawsuit filed in a state district court in Oklahoma City aims to block legislation that Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law in April and that is due to take effect Nov. 1.

The law would deem performing an abortion to be “unprofessional conduct” and place the doctor’s license in peril if a complaint were made.

Doctors performing abortions also would be required to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and abortions would be banned where cardiac activity is detected in the embryo. Any doctor who performs an abortion after cardiac activity is detected would be committing homicide under the law.

The law is similar to one that took effect Wednesday in Texas.

The lawsuit also seeks to block legislation restricting drug-induced abortions, including requirements previously struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Those include an admitting privileges requirement that has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and an ultrasound requirement that is more restrictive than an ultrasound law the state Supreme Court already struck down.

Neither the governor’s office nor state attorney general’s office immediately replied to requests for comment.

“The Oklahoma Supreme Court has found time and again that the state legislature’s extreme attempts to restrict abortion are unconstitutional,” lead plaintiff Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “If allowed to take effect, these laws would end abortion access in Oklahoma, forcing patients to travel great distances and cross state lines to get essential health care.”

The laws have been criticized by the New York-based group, which has successfully sued to overturn numerous anti-abortion laws in recent years. However, a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court declined Thursday to intervene to block the Texas law from taking effect, causing a surge of women to rush to adjoining states to seek abortions.

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