The Oklahoma Supreme Court has put a temporary block on the implementation of a state law that bans a second-trimester abortion procedure often known as a dismemberment abortion.
In a decision released Monday, the state’s highest court ruled 6-2 to issue an injunction against Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act of 2015.
The litigation was brought by the Tulsa Women’s Reproductive Clinic, which is being represented by the pro-choice group the Center for Reproductive Rights.
CRR Senior Counsel Autumn Katz, lead counsel in the case, said in a statement released Monday that she considered the injunction a victory for “high-quality, evidence-based abortion care.”
“Under this law, doctors would be subject to criminal penalties for providing abortions consistent with the standard of care. This ban was motivated by politics, not medicine, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court recognized that today,” stated Katz.
In 2015, Oklahoma passed House Bill 1721, which banned a common surgical abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, or D&E.
A surgical abortion procedure often used during the second trimester, D&E involves dilating a woman’s cervix and then using instruments to dismember and remove a fetus from the uterus.
In July, Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong upheld the law, with Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter celebrating the victory.
“Dismemberment abortions are barbaric, brutal and subject unborn children to more cruelty that we allow for death row inmates,” stated Hunter at the time.
“It is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue. Judge Truong is to be commended for declaring this legislation constitutional. Today is a major victory for basic human decency in Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that in recent years have passed such bans, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and West Virginia.
The bans tend to perform poorly when legally challenged. Lower courts have often ruled against these state-level dismemberment abortion bans.
In June, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on Alabama’s law, allowing a decision against the law by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to stand.