An Oklahoma County judge struck down a state law Wednesday that would have required women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds before the procedure.
Oklahoma County District Judge Bryan Dixon declared the law unconstitutional in a summary judgment handed down Wednesday. The law would have required doctors or their technicians to show pregnant women ultrasound images of their fetuses and discuss those images with the women before abortions were performed.
The state Legislature passed the law, commonly called the Ultrasound Act, in April 2010, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Brad Henry. But enforcement of the law has been blocked by a temporary injunction since May 2010.
That injunction came after the Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based abortion rights group, challenged the law in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of Nova Health Systems, which operates Reproductive Services of Tulsa.
Nancy Northrup, the center's president, called Wednesday's judgment part of a “nationwide backlash against the overreaching of lawmakers hostile to women, their doctors and their rights.”
“The court has resoundingly affirmed what should not be a matter of controversy at all — that women have both a fundamental right to make their own choices about their reproductive health, and that government has no place in their decisions,” Northrup said.
Diane Clay, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, said the attorney general's office had no comment Wednesday.
Rep. Lisa Billy, R-Lindsey, who authored the measure, said she was disappointed.
“I think women deserve to have all the information necessary before making that decision,” Billy told The Associated Press.
Doctors already were performing ultrasounds on women before performing an abortion, Billy said. Her bill only required them to make the images available for women to view, she said.
“It was an option if she wanted to view it,” said Billy, who this year is sponsoring a measure to grant personhood status to a fertilized egg.