TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Two of Oklahoma's three abortion clinics do not meet the requirements of a new law that requires doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and they could be forced to shut down, women's health group Planned Parenthood said.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law Wednesday a measure that requires clinics to have a physician with admitting privileges present when an abortion is performed. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said only Reproductive Services in Tulsa currently meets that requirement.
Abortion providers in Oklahoma City and Norman don't currently have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles, as required under the new law, said Planned Parenthood staff attorney Tamya Cox. Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, does not own any of the three clinics in Oklahoma but has been fighting such laws in several states.
"This is kind of a veiled attempt to really close down clinics in the name of women's health," she said.
Similar requirements are already in effect in Texas and Tennessee, while laws in Mississippi and Alabama are on hold during court challenges. Oklahoma's law will go into effect Nov. 1, barring any legal challenges.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Randy Grau, said the requirement ensures that abortion providers are equipped to deal with medical emergencies. Grau, R-Edmond, said he doesn't see why those doctors couldn't get privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinics.
"It almost seems like kind of a scare tactic," he told the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/1gI2D4Z ).
But Cox said many hospitals aren't willing to grant admitting privileges to abortion providers.
"A lot of the times hospitals don't want to get involved because of fear of protesters and bad publicity," she said.
The Oklahoma State Medical Association also opposes the new law.
"The OSMA has members of both sides of the abortion debate, and we do not take a position on the legality of abortion," the association said in a letter. "However, as long as it remains a legal medical procedure, we oppose legislation or regulations that would implement a standard of care or override a physician's medical judgment."
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com