Oklahoma GOPers can't seem to stop themselves from trying to ban medication abortion

The state has passed another measure restricting access to abortion drugs. It's a compulsion, said one lawmaker

By Katie McDonough
Published April 23, 2014 2:37PM (EDT)
               (AP/Orlin Wagner)
(AP/Orlin Wagner)

In a recent interview with Salon, Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox -- a self-identified pro-life Republican with a strong voting record in support of reproductive rights -- said that many of his colleagues can't seem to help themselves when it comes to passing abortion restrictions that ultimately get struck after being challenged in court.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday signed the latest state measure passed by the state Legislature to restrict access to medication abortion, mimicking similar proposals that have passed in Texas and other states. The new law was introduced in response to a court striking down the most recent ban on medication abortion passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

"We’ve spent a fortune in Oklahoma on these antiabortion laws," Cox told Salon earlier this month, noting a pattern of his colleagues advancing wasteful, burdensome and medically unnecessary laws to restrict abortion access. "We’ve had many overturned in the courts, but then we tweak them a little bit, make another run at it and watch as they get overturned again."

More from the Associated Press:

The bill was written in response to a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision that ruled a similar bill signed by Ms. Fallin in 2011 was unconstitutional.

The measure would prohibit off-label uses of certain abortion-inducing drugs by requiring that doctors administer them only in accordance with Food and Drug Administration protocol. That protocol calls for the drugs to be given in higher doses than is customary today, and only in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. It takes effect on Nov. 1.

Abortion rights supporters say the bill will deny women newer regimens for medication abortion and force them to undergo surgical abortions after 49 days of pregnancy.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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