Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"Must Tell" Abortion Law In Oklahoma is Challenged

The "Must Tell" Law, in which parents must be informed of their minor daughter's intention to have an abortion, was signed by Gov. Brad Henry on May 20, 2005. New York attorney's representing Tulsa's Reproductive Services filed a request for a restraining order to be placed on the law, pending a review of federal Judge H. Dale Cook. In question is the lack of a time element placed on the state to bypass the notification process, if the girl is unable or unwilling to involve her parents or guardians.

Reproductive Services, through their attorneys, claim that due to the state not having a time-frame to respond some girl's will not be able to abort because slow action by the state could place them in the second trimester stage. Their argument continues by saying that delayed action by the state could harm the life of the girl because of the additional medical risks by later term abortions or in Oklahoma, based on existing law, would prevent the abortion from occurring.

Attempts to challenge the constitutionality of such laws in other states have been based upon parental consent, which the Oklahoma state Attorney General's office in defending the "Must Tell" law says is not applicable because this law requires notification, not consent, by the parents. Judge Cook has not made a decision at this time regarding the injunction, pending review of the issues involved with the case.

Sadly, either way the Judge rules, girls will still be getting abortions in the state. Oklahoma lawmakers, in their attempt to avoid the question of constitutionality being raised as other states have had with their anti-abortion laws, tried to write law around this issue - which is commendable - as it would slow down the decision to abort and create a time of reflection and allow parental input, but pro-choice advocates obviously do not see the merits of the legislators efforts. By creating this challenge, pro-choice advocates have reinforced and publicized the ability of the girls to circumvent parental notification in their decision to abort. If the challenge is successful, the legislators will have accomplished nothing more than to write a law in which the girls will create more tax-payer cost by their appealing through the judicial bypass system.

posted by Is It Just Me? at 3:02 PM