Oklahoma Lawmakers Pre-File Anti-Choice Bills

Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma have pre-filed bills that would further restrict access to reproductive health care in the state, as they prepare for 2014 legislative session, which begins on Monday, February 3.

State Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) pre-filed HB 2418, which would change the state’s requirements for doctors who perform abortions. The bill would require that doctors have “clinical privileges at a hospital which offers obstetrical or gynecological care that is located within 30 miles of the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.”

Similar laws mandating that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges have been challenged in several states. Most recently, a federal appeals court upheld a decision blocking a similar law in Wisconsin.

In addition, a pair of bills has been filed by Rep. Randy Grau (R-Edmond). HB 2685 would make several additions to the state’s existing informed consent law. For instance, it would add reporting requirements by abortion providers and would allow the potential father or grandparents to sue the provider if they claim all requirements of the law were not met. Grau also sponsored a bill during the last legislative session to make the state’s parental notification laws more stringent; that legislation went into effect in November.

In October, the state supreme court ruled that Oklahoma’s restrictions on medication abortions were unconstitutional because the language in the law created an effective ban on all medication abortions. HB 2684 would modify that law by removing the language that created that effective ban.

Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma, told RH Reality Check that the ACLU and its allies are ready to protect the rights of women to make reproductive decisions free from political interference. “It is reprehensible that some politicians continue to pretend that the legislation that they recycle, with little variation, year after year is a legitimate substitute for medical decisions made by doctors and their patients,” said Kiesel.

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