Federal court rejects request to block Oklahoma's new abortion law - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Federal court rejects request to block Oklahoma's new abortion law

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A federal judge Friday rejected a request to bar enforcement of Oklahoma's new abortion notification law.

U.S. District Judge H. Dale Cook said Nova Health Systems failed to satisfy the prerequisites for issuing an injunction pending an appeal.

Nova, the parent of Reproductive Services in Tulsa, requested the injunction claiming the law doesn't guarantee speedy resolution when girls younger than 18 seek a court waiver from the parental notification now required before an abortion.

The request came in May, after Cook rejected Nova's request for a temporary restraining order against the law. Nova asked Cook to ban the law's enforcement until the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on its appeal of his earlier ruling, or until the Oklahoma Supreme Court sets a time frame for the handling of requests for waivers from parental notification.

Martha Hardwick, one of the attorneys representing Nova, said the judge's action was not surprising.

"Based on the results we received earlier, we expected this," Hardwick said. "We will continue to pursue our appeal."

Nova's suit sprang from a law that took effect immediately after Gov. Brad Henry signed it May 20. It prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion on a minor unless a parent is notified 48 hours before the procedure. It includes exemptions if a physician decides the abortion is needed to prevent the mother's death or other serious health risks.

Minors who don't want their parents notified can petition for a judicial bypass, in which a judge can authorize the abortion by concluding the girl is mature enough to consent to the procedure or that it would be in her best interest not to notify her parents.

But Nova argued that the lack of a specific time frame for handling such petitions or appeals when they are denied violates girls' rights of "liberty, privacy and equal protection."

Although Cook rejected those arguments, Nova appreciated how quickly the federal court handled the matter, Hardwick said.

"The state courts have given no indication that they will come up with a scheme with a sufficiently quick way to get that bypass," Hardwick said.

As of Friday, the law had not effected any minor clients of Nova, Hardwick said. However, it could happen at any time, she said.
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