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Okla. Abortion Provider Files Suit Over Admitting Privileges Law

Okla. Abortion Provider Files Suit Over Admitting Privileges Law

October 6, 2014 — An Oklahoma physician on Thursday filed suit against a state law (SB 1848) requiring all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, the Oklahoman reports (Green, Oklahoman, 10/2).

The law also requires the state health board to develop operational standards for clinics that perform abortions. It is scheduled to take effect on Nov. 1 (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/28).

Lawsuit Details

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of Larry Burns, who performs about half the abortions in the state and is one of just three abortion providers in Oklahoma. The lawsuit was filed days after CRR filed suit against another state law (HB 2684) that restricts medication abortion (Oklahoman, 10/2).

According to the latest suit, Burns will be forced to close his clinic when the law takes effect because he has not been able to obtain admitting privileges at any of the 16 hospitals in qualifying distance of his clinic (Juozapavicius, AP/ABC News, 10/2). CRR argued that the law violates constitutional rights of equal protection and due process and that it violates a requirement that all bills in the state address only one topic.

CRR President and CEO Nancy Northup said, "This latest restriction on abortion, like all the others that have been passed by this Legislature and subsequently blocked by the courts, reflects nothing more than a single-minded obsession with shutting down the clinics that offer safe, legal care to women who have" an abortion (Oklahoman, 10/2).