A new law that requires doctors who perform chemical abortions to tell women that the process is reversible was blocked on Wednesday by an Oklahoma judge.
The Center for Reproductive Rights asked the Oklahoma County District Court to block the law just before it was to take effect on Nov. 1. Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews issued a temporary injunction that will remain in place while the case is litigated before the judge.
The state Legislature approved the measure and it was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt earlier this year. The law requires providers to tell women who are pursuing chemical abortions, which consist of a series of two oral pills, that the abortion may be reversed if the woman has regrets after taking the first pill. It also requires signage inside clinics where chemical abortions are performed.
Physicians who do not comply with the new law would face felony charges.
“The state remains committed to defending this law that requires doctors to inform women they can opt to reverse the process,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in a statement after the judge’s ruling.
Abortion supporters have said requiring doctors to tell women their chemical abortions can be reversed is forcing them to provide misleading information. “This law represents the Legislature telling doctors how to do their job,” said Eileen Citron, a lawyer for Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic.
“Medication” abortions require a woman to take one pill called mifepristone. A second pill, misopristol, can be taken up to 48 hours later to induce a miscarriage. The technique can be used up to 10 weeks into pregnancy. Pro-life advocates say that the process can be reversed by giving the patient progesterone. As many as half of women who take only mifepristone continue their pregnancies, even without subsequent progesterone injections, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Oklahoma is one of eight states with a law requiring doctors to inform patients they can still have live births after initiating a medication abortion. Six states — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Utah and South Dakota — have such laws currently in effect. Oklahoma and North Dakota have signed their laws but they are not currently in effect.