October 28, 2014 — An Oklahoma physician on Monday appealed to the state Supreme Court to block a state law (SB 1848) that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges before it takes effect Nov. 1, the Tulsa World reports.
On Friday, Oklahoma District Court Judge Bill Graves ruled that the law can take effect, which physician Larry Burns and his attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights say will force him to stop providing abortions (Hoberock, Tulsa World, 10/28).
CRR attorneys have said that Burns, owner of the Abortion Surgery Center in Norman, Okla., has not been able to meet the admitting privileges requirement after applying at 16 hospitals (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/27).
Oklahoma Supreme Court Petition
CRR in its brief said that if Burns' clinic closes, "even assuming both other clinics [in the state] are able to stay open, they are unlikely to be able to meet the increased demand for medical services." Burns performs about 44% of abortion procedures in the state.
Further, CRR argued that women seeking abortion care likely will face delays that could potentially increase the cost of services and the risk of complications. "Delay will also mean that some women do not get appointments in time to qualify for a medication abortion," while others "may progress beyond the time when legal second trimester abortion is available in Oklahoma," the brief said, adding that the delays could result in women having to carry unwanted pregnancies to term (Tulsa World, 10/28).