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Oklahoma Judge Blocks Abortion Laws Including Measure Similar to Texas Heartbeat Ban

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An Oklahoma judge on Monday temporarily blocked two new abortion laws that were set to take effect next month, including a measure similar to Texas’ heartbeat abortion law.

District Judge Cindy Truong said the two laws, which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected and add abortion to a list of unprofessional conduct by doctors, are likely unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade

However, Truong denied a request for an injunction for three other abortion laws that will take effect beginning November 1.

The three laws that will be enforceable next month create new restrictions on chemical abortions and require all doctors who perform abortions to be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. 

An attorney for the Center for Reproductive rights, which challenged the new Oklahoma laws, said the new board certification requirement would “immediately disqualify more than half of the doctors providing abortions in the state.”

The group has vowed to appeal the judge’s ruling to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Republican State Senator Julie Daniels, who sponsored four of the five abortion bills, said the laws are aimed at making abortions safer and noted that her ultimate goal “has always been to save the life of the unborn child and return these decisions to the states where they rightfully belong.”

The chemical abortion restrictions include requirements that have been struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, including an admitting privileges requirement and an ultrasound requirement.

The ruling comes as patients from Texas have flocked to abortion clinics in Oklahoma after a law took effect in the Lone Star State on September 1 allowing private citizens to sue providers that perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. While eleven Texans had abortions at the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City in August, before the heartbeat ban went into place, the number jumped to 110 in September, according to the Associated Press.

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