OKLAHOMA CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Oklahoma Supreme court is overturning a pro-life law that would have helped protect minors from sexual abuse.
Senate Bill 642 (SB642) was passed by an overwhelming margin in the Oklahoma house and senate and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin in June 2015, but it was immediately opposed by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights. The law sought to limit and prosecute sexual abuse of minors and make abortion providers more accountable for protecting them.
It made it a felony for someone to help a minor obtain an abortion without parental consent and mandated that a physician performing an abortion on a minor submit some of the aborted baby's tissue to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. It further directed that abortion mills be held to certain medical standards and that facilities be inspected regularly and physicians performing abortions be licensed by the state.
After blocking the implementation of SB642 for 14 months, the panel of nine state supreme court judges unanimously ruled the law unconstitutional. The judgment maintains the bill "contains different and unrelated purposes contrary to the single subject requirement" of the state constitution.
The judgment explains that "a common connection or theme is not sufficient to satisfy the single-subject rule where the legislation is potentially misleading or leaves the Legislature with an all-or-nothing choice." It says the four sections are not "germane, relative and cognate," and maintains, "Although each section relates in some way to abortion, the broad sweep of each section does not cure the single subject defects in this bill."
One of the judges goes further to claim the law violates two Supreme Court decisions and maintaining it "continues to place undue burdens on access to abortion under the guise of protecting the health of women."
A representative from the Center for Reproductive Rights commented, "Today's decision is a critical victory for Oklahoma women and their doctors, who will no longer face the threat of criminal prosecution simply for providing safe and legal health care to their patients."
In May, Gov. Fallin recently vetoed a pro-life bill that would make the performance of an abortion a felony with imprisonment for up to three years. She claimed it was "ambiguous" and "vague" and "would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge."