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Oklahoma's abortion law stays blocked for now

An Oklahoma County judge today issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the state's tough new abortion law.

By Nolan Clay Modified: July 20, 2010 at 6:46 am •  Published: July 20, 2010

A tough new abortion law remains on hold.

An Oklahoma County judge Monday extended a temporary ban on enforcing the state law. District Judge Noma Gurich set the next hearing for Jan. 21.

The 2010 law requires a doctor or technician to perform an ultrasound at least an hour before a scheduled abortion so the pregnant woman can see the images of the fetus. The doctor or technician must describe the ultrasound images to the woman, even if she objects. A patient can avert her eyes.

Two of the state's three abortion providers, the Reproductive Services clinic in Tulsa and Dr. Larry Burns of Norman, are asking the judge to declare the law unconstitutional. They contend the law is flawed for several reasons.

The judge said Monday she could rule earlier than January on the challenges. She said, though, it appears a number of facts still are in dispute.

Technically, what the judge did Monday was agree to a temporary injunction against the law. The judge on May 3 approved a temporary restraining order against the law.

The judge ruled Monday after a 30-minute hearing in a courtroom packed with women from a new organization, the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice. Most of the spectators wore pink.

The coalition president, Martha Skeeters, of Norman, wore a pink shirt that read "Trust Women." She said the coalition formed because people became fed up with the state Legislature for passing laws abusive to women.

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