By Heide Brandes
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma judge struck down on Monday a law aimed at limiting the use of abortion-inducing drugs, saying the measure was unconstitutional because it did not apply to other medication.
The law requires that the drugs, including one known by the brand name of Mifeprex, be administered under U.S. Federal and Drug Administration protocols, which critics say pose dangers to women because the dosage is far higher than needed and requires women to make multiple visits to doctors.
The state's Republican leaders, who have enacted a series of abortion restrictions, planned to appeal the decision from Oklahoma District Judge Patricia Parrish of the law the governor signed last year.
The suit, filed on behalf of Reproductive Services, a nonprofit reproductive healthcare facility in Tulsa, and the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, argues the law prohibited off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs purposefully and unconstitutionally, which limited non-surgical abortion options in Oklahoma.
In addition, attorneys argued the law forced doctors to treat women seeking abortions with outdated and less safe methods.
Those supporting the law said the restrictions protect the health and safety of women.
"It is disappointing to see a judge strike down this law which was written by the Legislature to specifically comply with the Supreme Court's guidance on this important issue," Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, said.
Ohio, Texas and North Dakota have similar laws restricting abortion-inducing drugs, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health policy.
"For women in Oklahoma, this ruling means they can access abortion methods that are best for them," said Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues associate for the institute.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)