NRL News

U.S. Supreme Court declines to review decision striking down Oklahoma Ultrasound Law

by | Nov 12, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

MarchforLifeSC78reWithout comment, the United States Supreme Court this morning declined to review a decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that declared the state’s 2010 ultrasound law unconstitutional.

HB 2780 requires that the abortionist position the ultrasound screen at an angle so that the mother can view the images, if she chooses, and that as part of the informed-consent process the abortionist “provide[s] a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”

“While it is true the U. S. Supreme Court most often doesn’t grant a petition, we are disappointed that they failed to do so in this case,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., NRLC director of state legislation. “We strongly believe the State’s Supreme Court misconstrued the ‘Casey’ decision in striking down the Ultrasound law. Casey clearly upheld the right of the states to provide for informed consent before an abortion–and Oklahoma’s Ultrasound law did just that.”

The law, passed by the Oklahoma legislature in April 2010, was challenged by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) on behalf of Nova Health Systems, operator of Reproductive Services of Tulsa, and Dr. Larry Burns, who provides abortions in Norman, Oklahoma. A temporary restraining order was issued against HB 2780 by a district court judge in May 2010 and the same judge permanently enjoined the law in March 2012.

In December 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling. This past March the Oklahoma Attorney General filed a petition asking the United States Supreme Court to review that decision—Pruitt v. Nova Health Systems–which the justices chose not to do this morning.

“The medical necessity of pre-abortion ultrasounds was not at issue in this case since both of the abortion-provider plaintiffs acknowledged that they require ultrasounds prior to performing abortions,” Tony Lauinger, State Chairman, Oklahomans for Life, told NRL News Today. “The only question was whether Oklahoma could require that the results of these ultrasounds be shown and explained to women. The Court said no, and the losers are the mothers of Oklahoma who will be deprived of the ability to give truly informed consent before undertaking this irrevocable act, and their babies who will be killed.”

Lauinger added, “In the long run, the ongoing debate over ultrasounds will benefit the pro-life cause in the same way that the protracted fight over partial-birth abortion did: more and more people will come to understand the humanity of the unborn child. That’s why the abortion industry opposes sharing the ultrasound information with mothers: they know the power that truth conveys.”

Please join those who are following me on Twitter at Send your comments to

Categories: Judicial
Tags: HB 2780