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Judge OKs Oklahoma’s Clinic Closure Law

Jessica Mason Pieklo

Attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights first challenged the measure in 2014 and said in a statement they plan to appeal Thursday’s decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

An Oklahoma state court judge on Thursday ruled that a law mandating that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals is constitutional and can take effect.

Oklahoma Republicans enacted SB 1848 in May 2014. It mandates that reproductive health-care clinics in the state must have a physician with admitting privileges at a local hospital on-site when abortion procedures are performed.

The Oklahoma GOP’s law would mandate what has been deemed medically unnecessary provisions that would effectively force many clinics to close.

The measure is similar to portions of a Texas law the U.S. Supreme Court will review in March. Meanwhile, federal courts have blocked similar laws passed by Republican-majority legislatures in Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Kansas.

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Attorneys from the Center for Reproductive Rights first challenged the measure in 2014 and said in a statement they plan to appeal Thursday’s decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

“Politicians across the country have made it their mission to cut off women’s access to essential reproductive health care under the guise of protecting their health,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement following the decision. “Whether in Oklahoma, Texas or elsewhere, clinic shutdown laws are unconstitutional and a direct threat to women’s health. Today’s ruling turns a blind eye to the very real harms that will befall Oklahoma women if this measure takes effect.”

Thursday’s ruling will not take effect immediately because of a 2014 order from the Oklahoma Supreme Court preliminarily blocking the measure while the challenge to its constitutionality proceeded. That order will stay in place while the appeal of Thursday’s ruling proceeds.

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