Intervention granted in Oklahoma abortion lawsuit

A national group called American Victims of Abortion on Friday was granted the right to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new Oklahoma abortion law.
BY RANDY ELLIS rellis@opubco.com Published: January 22, 2011

A national group called American Victims of Abortion on Friday was granted the right to intervene in an Oklahoma County lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new Oklahoma abortion law.

The law being challenged would require doctors or their technicians to show pregnant women ultrasound images of their fetuses and discuss those images with their patients before abortions are performed. Patients could choose to avert their eyes.

Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich has delayed implementation of the law pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

American Victims of Abortion is a unit within the National Right to Life Committee that represents women who say they have been traumatized or harmed by abortion experiences.

Although Gurich ruled American Victims of Abortion can assist the Oklahoma attorney general's office in defending the new law, she rejected similar intervention requests from the Justice Foundation and three Oklahoma women who said they had traumatic experiences involving abortion and wanted to support the ultrasound law.

Gurich said Justice Foundation participation would be “redundant” and the three women could participate as “fact witnesses,” but not as parties to the lawsuit.

Two of the three women, Pam Brown of Norman and Sherrie Sjodin of the Tulsa area, were present in the courtroom and said they were satisfied that they would have a chance to be heard.

Brown told The Oklahoman she went to a doctor seeking an abortion, but backed out after catching a fleeting glimpse of an ultrasound image that her doctor had intended not to show her.

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