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TULSA company challenges new parental notification law

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa-based company has gone to federal court to challenge a new parental notification abortion law.

The principal author of the measure, State Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, said Monday he would immediately notify Gov. Frank Keating's office of the allegations in a lawsuit filed by the Nova Health Systems, parent company of Reproductive Services & Adoption Affiliates.

Sullivan said he thought that claims that House Bill 1727, which became law June 4, is vague in several areas are ``a typical last-minute pro-abortion argument.''

But he said if he is advised that the language of the measure needs to be tightened, he will ask that such ``minor modifications'' be done at this summer's special legislative session.

Sullivan said he still stands behind the bill, which he called ``a small step in the right direction.''

The lawsuit questioned a section of the new law that makes those who perform abortions on minors without parental consent or knowledge liable for the cost of any subsequent medical treatment the minor may require because of the abortion.

Plaintiff's attorney Bebe J. Anderson of the Center for Reproductive Law & Policy said that although her organization has fought parental notification laws in some of the other 41 states that have them, she has not seen any as overly broad as Oklahoma's.

The Oklahoma law does not include any limit on liability and does not provide exceptions for medical emergencies or for those who have been sexually assaulted by a parent, Anderson said.

The lawsuit alleges that the statute provides no indication of whether the consent of one parent is enough, does not specify exactly what the parents must be told and makes it unclear whether parental knowledge without consent would be sufficient to avoid liability.

The statute is also vague about whether future medical treatment would be limited to post-operative care or if it could include counseling costs years after the abortion, the lawsuit alleged.

It also questioned whether the new law includes married minors, minors who already are parents and legally emancipated minors. It asserts that the law provides no guidance for abortion providers to sufficiently confirm apparent ``parental consent or knowledge.''
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