Oklahoma judge again overturns medical abortion restriction

An Oklahoma judge has again overturned a state law restricting women’s access to drug-induced abortions, according to attorneys for the state and for the groups challenging the law.

Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish on Friday overturned a 2014 state law that banned “off-label” use of medication used for abortions.

The ruling “elevates science over politics and ensures Oklahoma women can get the care they need when they have made the decision to end a pregnancy,” said attorney Autumn Katz with the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of two nonprofit organizations, the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and Nova Health Systems.

Parrish had earlier ruled the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that it was special legislation, and the state appealed. The state Supreme Court in 2016 overturned that ruling and sent the case back to Parrish, but said the law still could be unconstitutional on other grounds.

Katz said Parrish’s latest ruling, which was not immediately published, noted that the Food and Drug Administration has updated the label for the drug mifepristone, sometimes called RU-486, to include it for use in medical abortions.

Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Mike Hunter said the state intends to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

A similar law in Arkansas is on hold pending a legal challenge.

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