Oklahoma County Judge Declares HB 1595 Unconstitutional
February 19, 2010 - 5:06 pm by Blaiz
Today, Oklahoma County Judge Owens declared that HB 1595 – a bill that prohibited abortion based on gender and required an invasive questionnaire for those seeking abortions, unconstitutional. Owens explained that the bill contained multiple subjects; therefore, violates the Oklahoma Constitution.
The ACLU of Oklahoma along with several other choice activists worked extremely hard last session highlighting the many flaws of this particular legislation. Along with the fact that there is no evidence that sex selection abortion is occurring in Oklahoma or throughout this country, the affiliate identified the exorbitant costs to tax payers this invasive reporting included.
While the prohibition on abortions based on gender passed out of the Oklahoma State Senate Public Health Committee last week, the affiliate fully expects the reporting requirement to fly through committee next week to beat the deadline for bills to receive a hearing.
The affiliate would like to extend congratulations to Jennifer Modino, Stephanie Toti from the Center of Reproductive Rights and local counsels, Anne Zachritz, and ACLU of OK long time member Martha Hardwick.
It is important that all Oklahomans speak out against all intrusive and exploitative bills such as these. For more information contact Legislative Counsel, Tamya Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Center for Constitutional Rights, which fought the case against the law:
02.19.10 - (PRESS RELEASE) New York, NY – Today, an Oklahoma County District Court declared unconstitutional a state law that would have imposed a host of restrictions related to abortion and cost the state over a quarter million dollars a year to implement, blocking the state from enforcing the law. The court ruled that the bill passed by the legislature addressed too many disparate topics and therefore violated the Oklahoma Constitution’s “single-subject” rule which requires laws only address one topic at a time. One of the provisions would have required doctors to request detailed personal information from patients who have had abortions and report that data to the state health department who will then post it on a public website.
“We are very pleased with today’s ruling,” said Jennifer Mondino, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The government has no business running a grand inquisition into the private lives of Oklahoma women and wasting a quarter of a million dollars of tax payers’ money in the process.”
The law also would have banned abortions based on a woman’s gender preference for her child; created new responsibilities for state health agencies to gather and analyze abortion data and enforce abortion restrictions; and redefined a number of abortion-related terms used in Oklahoma law. The Center filed a challenge against the law in September on behalf of former state representative Wanda Stapleton and Shawnee, Oklahoma resident Lora Joyce Davis.
This is the second time in two years that the Oklahoma legislature has tried to restrict abortion in the state by bundling numerous provisions into one bill. In September, the Oklahoma District Court struck down another state law imposing various abortion restrictions, including the most extreme ultrasound requirement in the country, ruling that it violated the state’s single subject rule.
News stories on this decision: