MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

November 4, 2013

Pruitt attacks state's high court for death of abortion drug law

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt blamed the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday for another abortion-related legal setback, while legislators and activists promised to push for further restrictions when the Republican-controlled Legislature returns in February.

In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court found a law restricting the use of abortion-inducing drugs was unconstitutional. Pruitt appealed. Last week, at the request of the nation’s high court, the Oklahoma Supreme Court clarified that the law not only limited drug-induced abortions, but also effectively banned them altogether.

Pruitt, a Republican, said that “broad and erroneous interpretation” of Oklahoma law left the U.S. Supreme Court little choice but to dismiss the case Monday.

“We are disappointed with the state court’s interpretation of a law that was crafted by the Legislature to protect Oklahoma women from potentially deadly protocols that have never been approved by the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration),” Pruitt said in a statement.

State Rep. Randy Grau, the author of the bill in the House, also said the Oklahoma court misunderstood his intent and that he plans to introduce changes next year that will address the court’s concerns.

“That is certainly within the power of the Legislature to regulate and ensure the safe practice of medicine in the state,” said Grau, R-Edmond.

Since Gov. Mary Fallin’s election in 2010 to accompany a GOP-controlled Legislature, Oklahoma has become a testing ground for some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

Tony Lauinger, the chairman of the anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life, said although the group’s plans for the 2013 session haven’t been finalized, he’s confident further restrictions will be introduced.

“Pro-life legislation is well received in the Legislature principally because the people of Oklahoma are pro-life, and legislators recognize that,” Lauinger said.

But courts have repeatedly shot down several measures as unconstitutional, including one that would have required women seeking abortions to be shown an ultrasound image while hearing a description of the fetus and another to grant “personhood” status to a fertilized human egg.

Martha Skeeters, director of the abortion rights group Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said she hopes the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling will give legislators some pause before pushing for more abortion restrictions.

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