Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds ‘An Inherent Right’ To Certain Abortions In State Constitution

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Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state’s constitution contains an “inherent right” to abortions performed to save the life of the mother.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a law in May 2022 prohibiting all abortion except those performed in cases of a medical emergency threatening the life of the mother. Anyone who commits an illegal abortion could face up to 10 years in prison or up to $100,000 in fines. Another bill, which had been on the books since 1910, makes performing an abortion on a woman a felony except in cases where it is necessary to preserve her life. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: DOJ Sued For Refusing To Provide Internal Documents Regarding Prosecution Of Pro-Abortion Rioters)

“We make no ruling on whether the Oklahoma Constitution provides a right to an elective termination of a pregnancy, i.e. one made outside of preserving the life of the pregnant woman as we have defined herein,” the majority wrote in the court’s 5-to-4 ruling.

Abortion clinics filed a lawsuit in July 2022 that asked the court to strike down both state laws. The court declined to do so but affirmed the constitutionality of abortion in cases in which the mother’s life is in danger.

Writing for the majority, Justice Yvonne Kauger wrote that “a woman has an inherent right to choose to terminate her pregnancy if at any point in the pregnancy, the woman’s physician has determined to a reasonable degree of medical certainty or probability that the continuation of the pregnancy will endanger the woman’s life due to the pregnancy itself or due to a medical condition that the woman is either currently suffering from or likely to suffer from during the pregnancy.”

Oklahoma Supreme Court Abor… by Sarah Weaver

“Absolute certainty is not required, however, mere possibility or speculation is insufficient,” the ruling continued.

Justices Kauger, James R. Winchester, James E. Edmondson, Douglas L. Combs, and Noma Gurich formed the majority opinion, with justices M. John Kane IV, Dustin P. Rowe, Richard Darby and Dana Kuehn dissenting.