Law & the Courts

Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Law Banning Drug-Induced Abortions

(Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a state law banning drug-induced abortions is unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.

The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice had challenged the 2014 law, which banned the “off label” use of the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, on the grounds that it forced doctors to rely on a sub-optimal, antiquated drug regimen last approved by the FDA in 2000, rather than the more recent 2016 protocol.

By requiring doctors to adhere to the older protocol, the law effectively restricted the use of drug-induced abortions in women who have been pregnant for more than 49 days. The newer protocol allows women to take a smaller dose of mifepristone up to 70 days into gestation.

Autumn Katz, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, praised the court’s decision as “a critical victory for Oklahoma women and their doctors,” adding that the ruling “elevates science over politics and ensures that Oklahomans who decide to end a pregnancy can continue to get the care they need.”

Abortion-rights advocates consider Oklahoma to have some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. The state already requires that women seeking abortions undergo counseling and wait 72 hours before having the procedure. And last week, Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law that requires doctors to tell women seeking drug-induced abortions that the process can be reversed after they take the first of the procedure’s two pills.

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