Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Abortion Legislation

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"Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Abortion Legislation"

Oklahoma’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that two of the state’s new abortion restrictions are unconstitutional, ensuring that the anti-choice laws will not take effect.

A lower court in Oklahoma had already issued an injunction against the laws, and this ruling reaffirms that decision. According to Oklahoma’s Supreme Court justices, both pieces of legislation — one that would impose mandatory ultrasounds on women seeking abortions, and one that sought to ban off-label versions of abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486 — are in direct contradiction to women’s constitutional right to legal abortion services under Roe v. Wade:

“Because the United States Supreme Court has previously determined the dispositive issue presented in this manner, this court is not free to impose its own view of the law,” the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s opinions state.

“The Oklahoma Constitution reaffirms the effect of the supremacy clause on Oklahoma law by providing, ‘The state of Oklahoma is an inseparable part of the federal union, and the constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.'”

This is not the first time this year that Oklahoma’s Supreme Court has rejected a state-level abortion restriction for standing in sharp opposition to Roe v. Wade. Just over a month ago, the court ruled that proposed “personhood” initiative — part of the far-right effort to endow fetuses with the full rights of U.S. citizenship by redefining personhood at conception, which would serve to outlaw all abortion services and even some forms of contraception — are “clearly unconstitutional,” pointing out that such an initiative would go too far to restrict a woman’s right to choose.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, the women’s health advocacy group that filed the legal challenges to both of the state laws, is celebrating the court’s clear protection of women’s constitutional rights. Michelle Movahed, one of the group’s attorneys, told the Oklahoman that the court’s decision may help Oklahoma lawmakers reconsider their approach to abortion legislation. “I hope that the Oklahoma Legislature does take a lesson and turn to subjects that won’t involve clear violations of the Constitution,” she said.

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