(Adds statement from Oklahoma governor)
By Jon Herskovitz
Dec 13 The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday
struck down a state law requiring doctors who perform abortions
to have admitting privileges at a hospital near their clinic,
saying the measure "places an undue burden on a women's access
The court said the 2014 law violates the state's
constitution and if it remained on the books, it would have left
the state of about 4 million people with only one abortion
Its decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in June
struck down a similar restriction in neighboring Texas. Abortion
providers challenged the Texas law, saying the requirement it
stipulated was medically unnecessary and specifically intended
to shut clinics.
"We find there is no evidence to support defendants'
position that this legislation protects and advances women's
health," the Oklahoma court wrote.
Oklahoma Republican lawmakers who backed the law said
requiring admitting privileges would ensure continuity of care
if there were complications from an abortion. Abortion rights
advocates said complications are rare and could be treated at
any emergency room.
"I'm disappointed to see another pro-life law struck down by
the courts," Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, said
in a statement.
"Like many bills passed in Oklahoma, this bill was designed
to protect the health and welfare of the mother along with the
life of the unborn, which always should be among our society's
priorities," she said.
The Oklahoma court cited the views of the Oklahoma State
Medical Association, a leading group of medical professionals,
which opposed the measure on the grounds that it did nothing to
advance or protect women's health and the regulation was not in
the best interest of patients.
Since the law on admitting privileges was passed in late
2013 in Texas, the number of abortion clinics in the state with
about 27 million people, had dropped to 19 from 41, court
"Evidence matters and the evidence shows that there was no
compelling public health interest for the measure," said
Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate for the Guttmacher
Institute, an abortion rights group whose data is used by both
sides in the debate.
Lawmakers in Texas, Oklahoma and several other
Republican-led states have been lining up a new series of
restrictions on abortions for legislative sessions that start
Abortion rights advocates believe that many Republican
lawmakers feel emboldened by the upcoming presidency of
Republican Donald Trump and view his administration as
supporting their restrictions on the procedure.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and