OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Supreme Court is taking on two pieces of anti-abortion legislation that were signed into law last year.
House Bill 4327 prohibits physicians from performing abortions at any point in a pregnancy, unless it is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life.
The law also included an exemption if the pregnancy was the result of rape, sexual assault or incest that had been reported to law enforcement.
Under the law, private citizens can file civil lawsuits up to $10,000 against anyone who performs or assists in performing an abortion. However, it does not allow the woman seeking an abortion to be sued.
Senate Bill 1503, also known as the Oklahoma Heartbeat Act, is a Texas-style anti-abortion law that opens up physicians to civil lawsuits if they perform abortions after cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo – around six weeks of pregnancy.
In Wednesday’s court ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that both bills were unconstitutional.
“Pursuant to this Court’s decision in Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice v. Drummond, 2023 OK 24, finding an ‘inherent right of a pregnant woman to terminate a pregnany when necessary to preserve her life,’ we find these two statutes to also be unconstitutional. S.B. 1503 provides even more extreme language then Section 1-731.4, found unconstitutional in Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice v. Drummond, as such, under stare decisis this Court must also find S.B. 1503 unconstitutional,” the court wrote.
Both bills were signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt last year.
“The court’s ruling today has little to no impact regarding abortion in Oklahoma. The ruling has no authority over Oklahoma’s criminal penalties for doctors who perform an abortion. 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 state Supreme Court continues to ignore precedent set by federal and state law and keeps making political decisions outside their authority. Today’s decision is another example of why comprehensive judicial reform is needed sooner than later. In the meantime, it is important for Oklahomans to know that leaders in the legislature are committed to the right to life in Oklahoma.”Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat