A new Oklahoma abortion law that has been deemed as one of the strictest in the nation was put on hold Monday.
Oklahoma County District Judge Noma Gurich delayed for 45 days the enforcement of a law that requires women to undergo an ultrasound examination and listen to a description of the ultrasound images before getting an abortion.
Physicians are also required to display the images, though the pregnant woman has the choice to look away.
The state attorney general agreed to the temporary block pending the outcome of a lawsuit by two abortion providers.
“We’re sorry to see implementation of the law delayed,” Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life and vice president of the National Right to Life Committee, told The Associated Press. “This has been a long process and apparently it will be a little longer.”
The abortion bill was vetoed last month by Gov. Brad Henry, who said the legislation was “an unconstitutional attempt … to insert government into the private lives and decisions of its citizens.”
But the state legislature overrode the veto last Tuesday.
Rep. Lisa Billy said the bill “does nothing more than give women as much information as possible before they make the life-altering decision to have an abortion.”
The law went into effect immediately.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a legal challenge Thursday, arguing that the new law is “detrimental to women in the state.” The Center argues that the ultrasound requirement profoundly intrudes upon a patient’s privacy and is the most extreme ultrasound law in the country.
The suit was filed on behalf of Nova Health Systems, operator of Reproductive Services of Tulsa, and Dr. Larry Burns.
Despite the pending challenge, pro-lifer Lauinger said he’s confident the law is constitutional.
“The abortion industry would like to hide the truth from women about their unborn children,” he said. “We believe women greatly benefit from the information an ultrasound provides.”