Almost 2 years ago, before the full-blown War On Women was much more than a glint in vote-hungry state legislators' eyes, the state of Oklahoma passed a truly heinous law. Not only did the measure require that women seeking abortions receive mandatory pre-procedure ultrasounds, it also required that the image of the ultrasound be put in her eyeline and described to her by a doctor. The case has been tied up in court challenges since, but yesterday, a judge ruled that because the law violates doctors' freedom of speech, it's unconstitutional and should never be enforced.
The plaintiffs in the suit claimed that the law was a whole mess of rights violations — by forcing doctors to read text composed by lawmakers, it violated medical professionals' free speech. By imposing pain in the ass legal requirements on a procedure only used by women, the law was sexually discriminatory. And treating one medical procedure differently than other legal medical procedures, the law unfairly singled out doctors who provided abortions. A judge agreed.
The win's an encouraging one for people who find the act of legislating anatomy repugnant, and is another victory for the ever-growing ovary overreach backlash. So far, Arizona, Idaho, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Georgia have backed away from wildly unpopular anti-abortion legislation in response to public outcry. And there's more pushback to come.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, who backed the successful Oklahoma lawsuit, announced today that they'll be challenging Oklahoma's "Personhood" ballot initiative. Their attempt to prevent it from being included on November's ballot is based on both precedent and logic — a court case in the early 1990's ruled that ballot initiatives that will inevitably be declared unconstitutional should not be subject to popular vote on the grounds that they waste everyone's time and money, and a ballot initiative that interferes with one specific group's health care is clearly unconstitutional.
Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, summed up her opposition to Oklahoma's Personhood ballot initiative thusly: "This proposed amendment violates the federal constitution and seriously threatens the rights, life, and health of all Oklahoma women. We are confident the court will block this petition from ever making it to the Oklahoma ballot. Our fundamental rights are not and must never be subject to a ballot initiative."