U.S. Supreme Court rules against Oklahoma abortion drug law

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that an Oklahoma law on abortion-inducing drugs is unconstitutional.
by Nolan Clay Published: November 4, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that an Oklahoma abortion drug law was unconstitutional.

Justices made no comments in disposing of the closely watched case with a single sentence.

The nation's highest court acted days after the Oklahoma Supreme Court found that the 2011 law “effectively bans all medication abortions.”

The law was the latest in a series of abortion measures in Oklahoma to be struck down.

Its author said he will try again.

State Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, said the intent of the 2011 law actually was to make sure that abortion-inducing drugs “are used in the only way that has been tested and approved by the” U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The law required mifepristone (RU-486) or any other abortion-inducing drug to be provided only as explicitly approved by the FDA.

Supporters contend off-label uses have led to women's deaths.

“The legislative intent was to protect Oklahoma patients and ensure that these drugs are used in a safe, appropriate, responsible manner,” Grau said.

He said he will introduce more specific language that will deal with any concerns that could be raised in the future in the courts.

Opponents of the law praised the U.S. Supreme Court's decision as upholding women's rights.

“The Supreme Court has let stand a strong decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that recognized this law for what it is: an outright ban on a safe method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest stages, and an unconstitutional attack on women's health and rights,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The center challenged the law in 2011 on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and a Tulsa facility, Nova Health Systems.

Northup said, “Politicians have been pushing for these restrictions nationwide under the thin pretext of protecting women's health, but their real agenda is to deny women their right to end a pregnancy safely, early, and in consultation with their doctors.

“This should send a strong message to politicians in Oklahoma and across the U.S. that women's constitutional rights are not up for debate and cannot be legislated away.”

by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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