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Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects broad abortion law

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Oklahoma [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Tuesday that a state law [SB 1878, DOC] imposing broad restrictions on abortion violates the state constitution. The law required women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure and contained sections on requirements for abortion clinic signs, the administration of an early-term abortion pill, and rules on lawsuits relating to abortions. The court held that the legislation "facially, patently, and obviously contained multiple subjects," and therefore violates the Oklahoma constitution [text], which requires legislation to be limited to one subject. The Oklahoma legislature is currently considering other bills [HB 2780, DOC] that separately contain much of same substance as the overturned law. The Center for Reproductive Rights [advocacy website], which brought the suit on behalf of a medical clinic, praised [press release] the court's decision, but expressed concern about the new bills being considered by the legislature.

The court's decision affirmed a lower court ruling [decision, PDF; JURIST report] issued last August. In February, Oklahoma state court judge Daniel Owens ruled [press release; JURIST report] that a different state law [HB 1595, PDF], making it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion based on the gender of a fetus and requiring numerous reporting requirements, also violated the state constitution's single subject requirement.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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