Oklahoma clinic asks high court to halt abortion law

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma abortion clinic has asked the state Supreme Court to review a judge's decision to uphold a ban on a second-trimester abortion procedure.

The Tulsa Women's Reproductive Clinic requested an injunction to put the law on hold, telling the high court Monday that the law would be detrimental for women, The Oklahoman reported.

The 2015 law aims to restrict the use of instruments in dilation and evacuation abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy, except when needed to save the woman's life or prevent a serious risk to her health. It was put on hold while the legal challenge was pending.

Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong upheld the law in July.

Rabia Muqaddam, the attorney for the Tulsa clinic, said Truong's decision was rogue. Muqaddam is also an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based abortion rights group whose challenge to the law was rebuffed this summer.

Thousands of women would be affected if the law goes into effect, Muqaddam said. She said the Tulsa clinic does not perform abortions later than 16 weeks, so most of the concern is between 14 and 16 weeks.

Oklahoma Assistant Solicitor General Zach West said the law does not leave women without options, noting that women can still get suction abortions up to 16 weeks.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has not said if it will review Truong's ruling. Brant Elmore, a state Supreme Court referee, said justices can take 10 days or more to decide if the law will go into effect.

Numbers released by the state Department of Health show nearly 7% of the about 5,000 abortions performed in Oklahoma in 2018 were performed using this method.

The state's Republican-controlled Legislature approved the ban, and it was signed into law by then-Gov. Mary Fallin.


Oklahoma county settles inmate death suit for $12.5 million

ENID, Okla. (AP) — Officials in northern Oklahoma have agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of an inmate in a restraint chair at the county jail.

According to court records, the Garfield County Board of Commissioners took the action over the June 8, 2016, death of 58-year-old inmate Anthony Huff.

Huff was arrested for public intoxication. Jail staff placed him in the restraint chair , where he was later found unresponsive and pronounced dead.

The lawsuit accused officials of negligence and of violating Huff's constitutional rights. In a statement Monday, the board says it "deeply regrets" Huff's death and the settlement is "reasonable under the circumstances."

Former jail administrator Jennifer Niles pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in Huff's death and was sentenced to 55 hours in jail.


Body found in pond identified as missing Oklahoma man

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (AP) — A body found in a small pond along the Oklahoma City/Midwest City border over the weekend has been identified as a man last seen more than a week ago.

Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said Tuesday that the discovered Sunday has been identified by the state medical examiner's office as 25-year-old Philip Manzi.

Clabes said Manzi, who's from Midwest City, was reported missing Oct. 15 and that his family said he hadn't been seen since Oct. 12 when he left his home. Clabes said Manzi's vehicle was impounded by Oklahoma City police the day he was last seen and was near the area where his body was found.

Clabes said the medical examiner has not determined the cause of death, but that foul play is not suspected.