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Oklahoma Temporarily Blocks Abortion Law

By Jason Beahm on May 06, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has agreed to an order temporarily blocking enforcement of a controversial Oklahoma abortion law that many are calling one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. The law mandates that every woman considering an abortion must undergo an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus. No exceptions are made in the case of rape or incest. 

A legal showdown was temporarily avoided between the Center for Reproductive Rights and the state, when attorneys on both sides accepted the court order, which Judge Noma Gurich signed Monday. 

The Oklahoma abortion law, which is described in the above video, brought strong opinions from all sides. 

As Tim Talley at the Associated Press reports, officials at Reproductive Services have said that patients have left clinics in tears after ultrasound procedures

"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. "We're confident that this law is constitutional."

In 2009, a judge ruled that a similar law was unconstitutional because it violated requirements that legislative measures deal only with one subject. The judge declined to rule on whether the ultrasound provision itself was constitutional. 

Oklahoma passed a new law this year designed to clean up the constitutional problems. Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the law, but the House voted 81-14 to override the veto and the Republican-controlled Senate followed up by voting 36-12. The 36 votes were the exact supermajority of votes needed in order to override the veto.  

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