The Oklahoma Supreme Court has blocked three antiabortion laws that were scheduled to take effect on November 1.
In a 5-3 ruling on Monday, the court granted a temporary injunction that prevents the laws from taking effect. All three appointees of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt dissented, The Associated Press reported. One judge didn’t vote.
“The Oklahoma Supreme Court recognized that these laws would cause irreparable harm to Oklahomans,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the New York City-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which helped to challenge the laws, said in a statement.
“All of these laws have the same goal: to make it harder to get an abortion in Oklahoma,” she said. “We will continue to fight in court to ensure these laws are struck down for good. Politicians should not be meddling in the private health decisions of Oklahomans.”
One law would have required all doctors who perform abortions in the state to be board-certified in obstetrics or gynecology, which would have forced about half of the abortion providers in the state to stop operating, the AP reported. The other two laws would have created new restrictions on medication-induced abortions.
Earlier this month, a district court judge temporarily blocked two other new antiabortion laws from taking effect next week, according to The Oklahoman. One measure would have classified performing most abortions as “unprofessional conduct,” which would result in fallout for doctors and medical staff who do the procedure.
The other measure was similar to the Texas ban that stops abortions from happening after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, which can happen as early as 6 weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.
Together, the laws would have prevented most abortions in Oklahoma, the newspaper reported.
Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics already have an influx of patients from Texas due to its new law, which took effect on September 1, the AP reported. In August, 11 women from Texas received abortion services at the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City. That number rose to 110 last month.
Similar increases are being reported at abortion clinics in Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico, the AP reported.
“The court’s decision today comes as a huge relief,” Alan Braid, MD, owner of Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic, told The Oklahoman.
“Texas has shown us the heartbreaking consequences of what happens when a state bans abortion,” he said. “Even Oklahomans are suffering from the Texas ban, which has created backlogs of patients here and in other surrounding states.”
All five abortion laws in Oklahoma have been blocked temporarily, the newspaper reported. Future court decisions will determine the outcome of abortion rules in the state.
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