OKLAHOMA CITY (LifeSiteNews) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court voted 6-3 Wednesday to strike down two of the state’s laws enacted last year to prohibit abortion, although the practice remains illegal thanks to Oklahoma’s pre-Roe abortion ban.
The Tulsa World reported that the state’s highest court ruled against Oklahoma’s law banning most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and its law allowing residents to bring civil suits against any abortionist for killing a baby from conception onward, deeming them unconstitutional.
“The state Supreme Court continues to ignore precedent set by federal and state law and keeps making political decisions outside their authority,” said Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, who argued that the court’s actions illustrated the need to rein in its authority.
“I again wholeheartedly disagree with the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s use of activism to create a right to an abortion in Oklahoma,” responded Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who signed both measures. “This court has once more over-involved itself in the state’s democratic process and has interceded to undo legislation created by the will of the people.”
However, Republican leaders agreed that as a practical matter, the ruling was insignificant because it did not address Oklahoma’s 1910 abortion ban, enacted decades before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling forced all 50 states to permit abortion and reactivated when the Court overturned Roe last summer.
“Despite the court’s decisions today on SB 1503 and HB 4327, Oklahoma’s 1910 law prohibiting abortion remains in place,” the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office said. “Except for certain circumstances outlined in that statute, abortion is still unlawful in the State of Oklahoma.”
“The ruling has no authority over Oklahoma’s criminal penalties for doctors who perform an abortion,” Treat added. “After the U.S. Supreme Court accurately ruled in 2022 there is no constitutional right to an abortion in the United States, it remains illegal to get an abortion in Oklahoma, unless it is to save the life of the mother.”
The ruling follows the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in March to allow Oklahoma’s pro-life laws to continue being enforced, while finding a “limited right to terminate a pregnancy that is protected by the Oklahoma Constitution,” when abortion is (supposedly) “necessary to preserve [a woman’s] life” (the laws in question included life of the mother exceptions).
Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, thanks to the overturn of Roe putting abortion back in the hands of the democratic process. As state pro-life efforts continue, so does debate over whether the next Republican presidential administration would pursue national protection for the preborn.
At the same time, abortion allies are aggressively pursuing a variety of strategies to preserve abortion “access” in the new legal landscape, including easing distribution of abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions, attempting to construct new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. Democrats currently lack the votes to do so, but whether they get those votes is sure to be one of the major issues of the 2024 elections.