Oklahoma Abortion Drugs Bill on Temporary Hold

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Oklahoma House Bill 1970 was set to go into effect Nov. 1. Today, an Oklahoma judge placed a temporary block on this legislation taking effect. Here is the history of this legislation that seeks to ban off-label use of drugs for abortions:

February 2011: First Reading

Representative Randy Grau, R-Edmond, authored the proposed legislation that would limit or prohibit physicians from using drugs known to induce abortion in that manner if those drugs are not labeled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for that purpose.

March: Third Reading and Passed to Senate

On March 17, this measure received its third reading in the state House of Representatives and passed 85-5. The measure was then sent to the Senate.

April: Measure Passed by Senate

House Bill 1970 was passed by the Oklahoma Senate with a vote of 39-6. Changes were proposed by the Senate Health and Human Services committee; the proposed changes were returned to the House for approval.

May: Measure with Proposed Changes Passed by House; Bill Sent to Governor for Signature

On May 4, the Oklahoma House voted on the amended legislation with a vote of 79-7. The next day it was sent to the Senate, where the measure was signed and returned to the House. That same day House Bill 1970 was sent to Gov. Mary Fallin's office.

The governor signed House Bill 1970 into law on May 11, with the law to take effect beginning Nov. 1.

Oct. 19: Oklahoma County District Court Judge Applies Temporary Injunction to Initiation of Abortion Drug Law

Oklahoma County District Court Judge Daniel Owens, via a conference call, listened to representatives of both sides of this issue.

Michele Mohaved, attorney for the Center of Reproductive Rights, argued against this measure, challenged the legislature's take on the off-label use of drugs, calling it a "common" practice and that the legislation tied the hands of physicians from using their "best medical judgment," reports AP.

On the other side of the coin, Assistant Attorney General Victoria Tindall argued that in particular mifepristone, RU-486, is a drug with dangerous risks, one that has caused the death of eight women to date.

Mohaved countered Tindall's claim of mifepristone having caused the eight deaths, saying that both the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had investigated the deaths with findings of no causal relationship between the use of the RU-486 and the deaths.

Today's injunction temporarily prevents House Bill 1970 from going into effect while litigation continues between the two sides.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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