Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Admitting Privileges Law as ‘Undue Burden’ on Abortion Access

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down a state law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, stating that the requirement places an “undue burden” on mothers’ access to abortion.

“Under the guise of the protection of women’s health, [the law] creates an undue burden on a woman’s access to abortion, violating protected rights under our federal Constitution,” wrote Justice Joseph Watt wrote on behalf of the court. “Every woman in this country has a constitutionally protected right to choose whether to terminate her pregnancy before viability. This right is protected from undue interference from the state.”

Lawmakers had passed Senate Bill 1848 in 2014, which required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital not more than 30 miles away in the event that a woman suffers an injury during an abortion or if the child is born alive.

“On any day when any abortion is performed in a facility providing abortions, a physician with admitting privileges at a general medical surgical hospital which offers obstetrical or gynecological care in this state within thirty (30) miles of where the abortion is being performed must remain on the premises of the facility to facilitate the transfer of emergency cases if hospitalization of an abortion patient or a child born alive is necessary and until all abortion patients are stable and ready to leave the recovery room,” the law read in part.

But abortionist Larry Burns of Abortion Surgery Center in Norman filed suit to challenge the regulation since he was unable to find a hospital that wanted to work with him, which would result in fines or the closure of his facility.

The law was upheld in February, but Burns, being represented by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

“In 41 years of private medical practice, Burns has only called an ambulance one time for a patient who was simply observed and released from a local emergency room,” Watt wrote on Tuesday. “We find there is no evidence to support defendants’ position that this legislation protects and advances women’s health.”

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He also pointed to the June U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar admitting privileges bill in Texas.

“Whether in Oklahoma, Texas, or elsewhere, allowing politicians to trample women’s rights by shutting down clinics is not only wrong—it’s dangerous,” Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “Today’s decision is a victory for Oklahoma women and another rebuke to politicians pushing underhanded laws that attack a woman’s constitutionally guaranteed right to safe, legal abortion.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said that she was disappointed by the outcome.

“I’m disappointed to see another pro-life law struck down by the courts,” she remarked. “Like many bills passed in Oklahoma, this bill was designed to protect the health and welfare of the mother along with the life of the unborn, which always should be among our society’s priorities.”

Fallin, who describes herself as the “most pro-life governor in the nation,” vetoed a bill in May that would have criminalized the performance of an abortion in the state and revoke the medical license of any physicians who ends the life of an unborn child.


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  • Keep them coming. Never stop, until the arm that signs the dismissal loses its strength, and the corrupt mind that sells the innocent to the wicked loses its ability to think, and the lawyers despair of the wickedness they must continually do and trap themselves in their lies.

    • Trilemma

      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein

      • Amos Moses

        Reporter: Mr Einstein, how does it feel to be the smartest person in the world
        Mr Einstein: You should ask Tesla …………….

        • Trilemma

          Einstein was being sarcastic.

          • Amos Moses

            He was being accurate ……… he thought highly of Tesla ………

    • Tangent002

      Waste them taxpayer dollars!

      • jael2

        We are talking about minimal health care standards which apply to most health care professionals and their facilities. But of course, those who dismember little boys and girls for a living have written their own “standards” for patient care. A good number of these abortionists, fly in, and fly out. They go from one city to another, or one state to another. One such abortionist, Leroy Carhart, flies from Nebraska to Maryland. In the event the butcher botches an abortion, who cleans up his mess when they are hundreds of miles away? They could care less once they rake in their cold and bloody cash.

        • james blue

          Do you think a law should be passed to require at least one hospital within 30 mile grant admitting privileges?

          • jael2

            James,
            Rest assured, if a woman is injured after her abortion, no hospital will turn her away. She will receive the upmost care.

            The issue at hand, most reputable hospitals do not want to be associated with an abortionist, and have them listed as staff. They are often referred to as the bottom feeders of the medical community. Not the kind of people you want to invite to your dinner party.

          • james blue

            That’s not what I asked.

            However if there is no risk of a patient being turned away why the need for admitting privileges?

            Regardless the question was about them. If it’s reasonable to require abortion doctors have admitting privileges, isn’t it also reasonable to require at least one hospital grant them?

        • Palsgraf’s Scale

          Bloody cash still spends.