A judge’s ruling striking down Oklahoma’s ultrasound law is being hailed nationwide by advocates for women’s rights.
The law, now ruled unconstitutional by a district court judge, required a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound first.
Oklahoma was one of three states that required a woman be forced to view an ultrasound before having an abortion.
Judge Bryan Dixon ruled the law unconstitutional Wednesday, saying it’s a “special law” that treats abortion differently than other medical procedures.
“This law is vitally important so a woman will have information before taking the irrevocable and lethal step of aborting her unborn child,” said Tony Lauinger, President of Oklahomans For Life.
The Oklahoma law was one of the stricter ultrasound laws in the U.S. according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
It would have required an ultrasound that produces the best image; usually that’s a transvaginal ultrasound.
The doctor was required to place the monitor in full view of the woman and describe in detail what the image was showing.
The monitor must also be made visible according to the law in Texas, audio of the fetal heartbeat must be made available, and the doctor is required to give a detailed description of the ultrasound.
A lawsuit was filed in Texas by the same group that challenged Oklahoma’s law, but the result was much different. That’s because after a higher court refused to grant a temporary injunction delaying the law, a lower court ruled against the lawsuit.
The Center for Reproductive Rights decided not to appeal because the case would have gone to the same panel that denied the temporary injunction.
Women’s rights advocates say ultrasound laws are demeaning to women and hope Wednesday’s decision sends a message across the country.
“Women have been persecuted by a lot of these statutes just simply for the right, for their attempt to try to enforce a right that the Supreme Court of the United States has given them over the last 35 years or so,” said Martha Hardwick, women’s rights advocate.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office said they are in the process of considering how best to respond to the judge’s ruling.
There is another measure making its way through the state legislature dealing with abortion. It would require the doctor to give the woman the chance to hear the fetal heartbeat before the procedure.
The bill just passed out of committee and now goes to the house floor.