In a ruling that pro-abortion rights advocates called "rogue," an Oklahoma judge upheld a state law on Friday that banned the most common abortion method for women at least 14 weeks into a pregnancy.
Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong declined to strike down the 2015 ban on dilation and evacuation abortions, a method considered to be the "standard of care" for women seeking an abortion in the second trimester, according to Julie Rikelman, Litigation Director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, the group that challenged the state law.
Once a final order is issued by the courts, the law will take effect immediately, though Rikelman said her group plans to immediately appeal the decision to the state's Supreme Court.
"There really is no other standard method of care for women at that point in their pregnancy," Rikelman said in a telephone interview with CBS News on Friday. "It really puts doctors and women in an impossible situation."
Prior to Friday's ruling, Oklahoma already had substantial regulations and restrictions in place impacting a woman's ability to receive an abortion, according to data provided by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion access research organization. Women are required to undergo abefore receiving an abortion and private insurances are generally only allowed to cover the procedure in cases of life endangerment, according to the group.
A handful of other states — including Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky and Texas — have passed similar bans on the specific procedure method, but all have been struck down by judges, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. In June, the a lower court's ruling that struck down an identical ban in Alabama that prohibited dilation and evacuation abortions.
"It is unconscionable to think that we would allow this practice to continue. Judge Truong is to be commended for declaring this legislation constitutional," Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in a statement Friday. "Today is a major victory for basic human decency in Oklahoma."
Hunter's office did not immediately return a call requesting further comment.
At Trust Women, a network of women's healthcare clinics and one of Oklahoma's three abortion providers, the dilation and evacuation abortion method is "absolutely the most common" protocol for women seeking the procedure in their second trimester, said Julie Burkhart, the co-founder and chief executive officer of the clinic network.
The method is the default choice for doctors at Trust Women because it's the least invasive, safest, most efficient choice, Burkhart told CBS News on Friday.
"This ruling substantially interferes with our doctors' relationship with their patients and allowing our physicians to determine what's the best, safest form of treatment," Burkhart said. "It's so frustrating to have that decision making power taken away from these physicians who have gone through medical school and become highly trained in their fields."
Once the final decision is signed, Burkhart said her clinic will be forced to stop providing the procedure.
"It's frustrating because I know, and all of us who work in abortion care know, that is not some sort of abstract exercise," Burkhart said. "This is reproductive healthcare, service delivery, and medicine that everyday people need, request and come to our clinic in hopes of receiving."
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