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Oklahoma parental consent law stays on the books

10th Circuit Court of Appeals throws out district court ruling that law was unconstitutional; ADF funded friend-of-the-court brief arguing to keep law
Published On: 10/18/2017

DENVER—Stating that abortion provider Nova Health Systems had no standing for its lawsuit, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday vacated a district court’s ruling that Oklahoma’s abortion parental notification law is unconstitutional.

Nova Health Systems, the parent company of Reproductive Services of Tulsa, objected to the portion of the law requiring them to bear the expense of any subsequent medical treatment related to an abortion performed on a minor whose parents had not been notified.

“The fact that Nova would love to wash their hands of any responsibility for medical expenses that are a result of their own abortions on children tells you something about them,” said Benjamin Bull, chief counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, which funded a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 76 Oklahoma state legislators in support of the state law.

“An abortuary like Reproductive Services is happy to keep the parents of their ‘customers’ in the dark as long as the revenue stream keeps rolling in,” Bull added.

The court ruled that Nova could not prove that the defendants named in their suit would be responsible for any potential harm to their company as a result of the consent law.  The court wrote in its opinion, “A party may not attack a tort statute in federal court simply by naming as a defendant anyone who might someday have a cause of action under the challenged law.”

Nova filed its suit, Nova Health Systems v. Dean Gandy, et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in 2001.  Teresa Collett, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, wrote the friend-of-the-court brief that ADF funded.

“ADF is dedicated to continuing its support of efforts to ensure that abortion providers do not succeed in dismantling common sense laws that protect minors and block underhanded attempts to undermine parental care,” Bull said.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. 

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