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Attorney General Hunter's Office Successfully Defends Two Longstanding Abortion Laws

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced his office successfully defended two longstanding state laws from challenges led by a New York City-based abortion advocacy group.

Oklahoma County District Judge Natalie Mai declined to put on hold a 1978 Oklahoma law allowing only physicians to perform abortions and a 2012 requirement that physicians must perform abortions in person, rather than by telemedicine. Both laws were passed on an overwhelming and bipartisan basis, and had never before been challenged.

“This is an extreme lawsuit, seeking to overthrow commonsense safety laws that have been on the books for half a century combined,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We appreciate Judge Mai’s thoughtful review and decision, which stays faithful to the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeated assertion that there is ‘no doubt’ that these types of laws are reasonable and constitutional ‘to ensure the safety of the abortion procedure.’ 

"Abortion advocates used to say that abortion should be between a woman and her doctor, but now they are attempting to take the doctor out of the room, and out of the picture altogether. We look forward to our continued defense of these laws and others that have been enacted to protect Oklahoma women’s health and safety, as well as the dignity of the unborn.”

A contrary ruling, the attorney general observed, would have potentially threatened the state’s anti-opioid efforts, given that the state also restricts the distribution of opioids through telemedicine.

In defending these laws, the attorney general was supported by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Telehealth Alliance of Oklahoma, among others.

To read the state's brief from Jan. 14, click here.