Anti-Choice Laws Defeated in Oklahoma

This week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down two anti-choice laws. One law would have made it mandatory for a woman seeking an abortion to see an ultrasound image and hear a description of the fetus; the other sought to ban “any off-label use of medications for abortion or treatment of ectopic pregnancy,” although it would have still allowed “off-label use of the same medication for other purposes.”

The ultrasound law had been passed by the state legislature in 2010, and the drug law was approved the following year. Following challenges by the Center for Reproductive Rights, both laws had been halted by lower court judges. In its decisions, the state Supreme Court said that both laws violated a 1992 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that it must “follow the mandate of the United State Supreme Court on matters of federal constitutional law.”

 

Out of the Mouths of Babes

The Oklahoma legislature is poised to deal a major blow to non-profits and faith-based organizations who help administer the WIC program.  The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is a federally-funded, state-administered nutrition service for low-income women, infants and children under five.  WIC subsidizes nutritious foods, infant formula, education on healthy eating and breastfeeding, and screening and referrals for other health and welfare services.

On average in 2010, Oklahoma WIC clinics provided 133,002 low-income mothers $37.18 dollars in food and formula each month.  WIC clinics are operated by health departments, tribal governments, faith-based organizations, community health centers and non-profits.  For instance, the clinic in Variety Health Center in south Oklahoma City serves an average of 8,066 low-income women and children each month.  The Edmond Ministerial Alliance’s Hope Center Health Clinic serves 1,611 average monthly participants.

Rep. Jason Murphey amended SB 709, a senior nutrition bill, to prohibit non-profits and faith-based organizations in Tulsa and Oklahoma county from administering WIC benefits to thousands of women and children across the state.  Section 2 of SB 709 creates new law that stipulates:  [Read more...]

Oklahoma’s Controversial Abortion Law Receives a Temporary Injunction

Just yesterday, Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich issued a temporary ban on the enforcement of a law requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour prior to the procedure. Although both parties agreed to a temporary ban on the implementation of this policy in late May, the new ruling by Judge Noma Gurich extends the hold placed on this invasive and paternalistic policy. A pretrial hearing has also been set for January 21st, where heated debate will most certainly occur over the constitutionality of this particular law.

Although this ruling doesn’t do much to change the already implemented restraining order against the law, it does prevent the legislation from being enforced this year. The best part of the ruling, in my opinion, was the presence of two-dozen women in pink tops who are members and/or supporters of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, a grass-roots organization that not only opposes this particular legislation, but also a laundry list of other anti-choice measures adopted by the state in recent years. (The ultrasound law was only one of eight anti-choice laws passed by the legislature earlier this year.) [Read more...]

Oklahoma Poet: “Pleading for relief from your morality”

Lauren Zuniga performs a poem for Oklahoma legislators.  Get it, girl.

Tuesday News Roundup

The Oklahoma House voted in an overwhelming majority to override the governors attempt at vetoing invasive abortion bills. The Senate is unfortunately expected to follow suit today.

RH Reality Check has an excellent piece on the overlooked toxins in Tampons and the long term consequences of temporary comfort.

There is a memorial service this coming Saturday to commemorate the life and work of Mary Daly. Even better: it will also be broadcast as a webcast.

AZ activist group stages a ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ sit in at Sen. McCain’s office. Apparently they started arresting before the media could get there.

Appeals court ruled in favor of women’s right to sue Walmart for their sexist bullshit.

Thank Freaking Goodness Oklahoma Came to its Senses

Oklahoma’s governor has officially vetoed two incredibly destructive abortion bills that would have significantly impacted the lives of women seeking abortion services. The Associated Press reports,

Oklahoma’s governor has vetoed two abortion bills that he says has flaws, including no exemption for rape and incest victims.

One of the bills that Gov. Brad Henry denied Friday would have required women seeking abortions early in their pregnancies to undergo an invasive form of ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before having the procedures.

Attorneys for the New York-based abortion rights group, Center for Reproductive Rights, have said the ultrasound bill would have been among the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country if it had been signed into law. [Read more...]

Wednesday News Roundup

Demand for Home Births Rises – My Best Birth
Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Abortion Bill Unconstitutional – Feminist.org
Abortion Tweets Met with Death Threats – Broadsheet @ Salon.com
Arizona Senate Passes Bill to Ban Abortion Insurance Coverage – AZ Capitol Times
Mexico City Approves Gay Marriage – CNN
No Surprise: Teen Birth Rates Fall After Comprehensive Sex Ed – Sacramento Bee

Judge Postpones Debate on the Oklahoma Abortion Survey

A quick update on the abortion debacle underway in Oklahoma. A judge has delayed a restraining order against the enactment of the legislation until Feb. 19th, where a hearing will take place to determine the validity of a lawsuit to have the legislation dismissed. The Wall Street Journal reports,

An Oklahoma County judge, Daniel Owens, recently extended a restraining order against enactment of the law until Feb. 19, when a hearing is scheduled to see if a law suit involving the new law is dismissed. This AP story says the Center for Reproduction Rights and two women sued on technical grounds, saying the legislation violated a rule in the state constitution that requires a piece of legislation to deal with only one issue–called the “single subject law.” [Read more...]

Oklahoma Protest TODAY!

pro choice protestSeveral University of Oklahoma students this week are taking a stand on Oklahoma’s newest abortion law, enacting the statistical abortion-reporting act. In a response to this legislation, the students planned Reproductive Rights Week and on Friday, students will focus the energy on to the Oklahoma State Capitol on November 6, at 12pm, with a pro-choice rally.

The legislation, H.B 1595, is a new provision on Oklahoma abortion laws that now requires an official record and reporting system of all abortions occurring within the state. This information would be made public and includes specific demographical information on the women. The bill also restricts the types of abortions or reasons for women having abortions. In addition, this website will cost upwards of $281,285 the first year and $256,285 each subsequent year. [Read more...]

Rally for Choice at Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma_City_Oklahoma_State_CapitolCollege students from across the state of Oklahoma are taking a stand on Oklahoma’s newest abortion law, enacting the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act. In a response to this legislation, the students are planning Reproductive Rights Week on the campus of the University of Oklahoma and all events will culminate with a statewide protest at the Oklahoma State Capitol on November 6, from 12pm-3pm.

The legislation, H.B 1595, is a new provision on Oklahoma abortion laws that now requires an official record and reporting system of all abortions occurring within the state. This information would be made public and includes specific demographical information on the women. The bill also restricts the types of abortions or reasons for women having abortions. In addition, this website will cost upwards of $281,285 the first year and $256,285 each subsequent year.

Although this legislation has been in the works since the beginning of this year, college students from across the state were shocked to hear that it went into effect with such little public discussion. More importantly, they were surprised that there was not more mobilization around the issues. [Read more...]