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Attacking reproductive rights October 14, 2008

Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Commentary.

Recent legislation in Oklahoma would prohibit a woman from getting an abortion unless she first has an ultrasound and hears a doctor explain in detail the fetus depicted in the ultrasound. This is clearly an attempt to delay abortion and increase the difficulty of obtaining it early in a pregnancy. The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit challenging the Oklahoma law, Nova Health Systems v Brad Henry. The law intrudes on a patient’s privacy, says the Center for Reproductive Rights, and interferes with a doctor’s right to use her/his own medical judgment. In addition to the requirement for the doctor’s description of the ultrasound, the Oklahoma law dictates exactly how the medical abortion pill is to be administered and further says that a women cannot sue the doctor if she/he withholds additional information about the fetus, for example, the presence of a severe developmental defect.
The law will have serious consequences if it cannot be struck down. In Oklahoma, Reproductive Services, run by Nova Health Systems, will be forced to close. On the national level, the Oklahoma law will encourage copycat legislation in the states, emboldened by the success of Gonzales v. Carhart in the U.S. Supreme Court where a ban on Intact Dilation and Extraction was upheld. The assault on reproductive rights continues.


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