WASHINGTON (KFOR) – The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, which allows states to ban abortions.
Justice Samuel Alito, in the final opinion issued Friday, wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided and must be overturned.
Authority to regulate abortion rests with the political branches, not the courts, Alito wrote.
Joining Alito were Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The latter three justices are Trump appointees. Thomas first voted to overrule Roe 30 years ago.
Chief Justice John Roberts would have stopped short of ending the abortion right, noting that he would have upheld the Mississippi law at the heart of the case, a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, and said no more.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — the diminished liberal wing of the court — were in dissent.
Oklahoma has a so-called “trigger law” — a law that went into effect upon a change in federal policy — that would severely limit abortion access following the Supreme Court’s decision.
Planned Parenthood says 26 states have trigger laws that would kick in, including Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Oklahoma’s trigger law makes abortion illegal, but it does include an exemption considering the life of the mother.
A statute from 1910 made abortion a felony in Oklahoma, punishable by two to five years in prison. It, however, has been rendered ineffective due to the federal court decision making a woman’s right to choose legal in 1973.
Lawmakers say the “trigger law” passed last year would revert Oklahoma back to that 1910 law and wipe any laws passed in the last 50 years that protect abortions off the books.
Officials say there are two more laws that would also kick in if the precedent was dismissed.
The newest Oklahoma law prohibits abortions once cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo, which experts say is roughly six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. That bill took effect once it was signed by the governor.
A similar bill approved in Texas last year led to a dramatic reduction in the number of abortions performed in that state, with many women going to Oklahoma and other surrounding states for the procedure.
Before the Texas ban took effect on Sept. 1, about 40 women from Texas had abortions performed in Oklahoma each month, the data shows. That number jumped to 222 Texas women in September and 243 in October.
SB612, that became law in August, makes performing an abortion a felony crime in Oklahoma, but that measure is not set to take effect until this summer.
Both of these new Oklahoma laws do allow abortions if the life of the mother is at risk.
The number of abortions performed each year in Oklahoma, which has four abortion clinics, has declined steadily over the last two decades, from more than 6,200 in 2002 to 3,737 in 2020, the fewest in more than 20 years, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
According to a news release from the Oklahoma Governor’s office Senate Bill 612 which passed earlier this year will become the primary prohibition once the law takes effect on August 26, 2022.
Until then, civil penalties could likely be obtained throughout pregnancy under House Bill 4327, which includes exceptions for rape and incest, and became effective May 25, 2022.
No Oklahoma law authorizes prosecuting a mother.