Supreme Court de­clines to hear ul­tra­sound case

Re­stric­tion was over­turned

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY KRISTI EA­TON

OK­LA­HOMA CITY | The U.S. Supreme Court de­clined Tues­day to in­ter­vene in the case of an over­turned Ok­la­homa law that would have re­quired women seek­ing abor­tions to first view an ul­tra­sound im­age of the fe­tus, one of sev­eral such re­stric­tions ap­proved by leg­is­la­tures across the coun­try.

It was the sec­ond time in a week that the na­tion’s high­est court de­clined to hear ar­gu­ments over a pro­posed Ok­la­homa abor­tion re­stric­tion. It pre­vi­ously let stand an Ok­la­homa court’s de­ci­sion that struck down a sep­a­rate law re­strict­ing drug-in­duced abor­tion.

Un­der the ul­tra­sound mea­sure, ap­proved by the Leg­is­la­ture in 2010 and struck down by the Ok­la­homa courts, women seek­ing an abor­tion would have been re­quired to have an ul­tra­sound exam and then have the im­age placed in front of them while the provider de­scribed the fe­tus.

Twenty-three states had ap­proved laws reg­u­lat­ing ul­tra­sounds and abor­tions, in­clud­ing three with laws sim­i­lar to the Ok­la­homa one struck down. Those states are Texas, Louisiana and Wis­con­sin, ac­cord­ing to the Guttmacher In­sti­tute, a re­search group that supports abor­tion rights.

The high court’s de­ci­sion not to hear Ok­la­homa’s case won’t im­pact any of the other states, and it wasn’t clear whether the jus­tices would even­tu­ally de­cide to hear ar­gu­ments on one of the other state laws.

Ok­la­homa Gov. Mary Fallin said she was dis­ap­pointed by the court sys­tem in this case.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has pro­hib­ited states like Ok­la­homa from ban­ning abor­tion, de­spite the fact that our cit­i­zens are over­whelm­ingly pro-life,” she said in a state­ment. “Now the courts have taken their hos­til­ity to pro-life leg­is­la­tion a step fur­ther, pro­hibit­ing the state from pro­vid­ing more in­for­ma­tion to women about their un­born chil­dren.”

The Center for Re­pro­duc­tive Rights filed the law­suit in April 2010 chal­leng­ing the ul­tra­sound law on be­half of the Ok­la­homa Coali­tion for Re­pro­duc­tive Jus­tice; Nova Health Sys­tems, a non­profit re­pro­duc­tive health care fa­cil­ity lo­cated in Tulsa; and an abor­tion doc­tor. A dis­trict court judge granted a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der against the law in May 2010 and a per­ma­nent in­junc­tion in March 2012. In De­cem­ber 2012, the Ok­la­homa Supreme Court up­held the lower court’s rul­ing.

Nancy Northup, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Center for Re­pro­duc­tive Rights, said the jus­tices’ de­ci­sion to let the Ok­la­homa Supreme Court rul­ing stand was a vic­tory for women and re­pro­duc­tive health care providers. She added that it sends a clear mes­sage to law­mak­ers across the coun­try “that at­tacks on women’s health, rights and dig­nity are patently un­con­sti­tu­tional and will not be al­lowed to stand.”

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