Oklahoma Supreme Court Strikes Down Pro-Life Law

News: US News
by Stefan Farrar  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 14, 2016   

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OKLAHOMA CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck a blow to the pro-life cause on Tuesday, striking down SB 1848, a law requiring doctors at abortion mills to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The law required that a doctor with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles be present for any abortion performed. Oklahoma Justice Joseph Watt wrote, "Under the guise of the protection of women's health (the law) creates an undue burden on a woman's access to abortion, violating protected rights under our federal Constitution."

Mary Fallin, governor of Oklahoma, SB 1848 into law in 2014, but the Oklahoma courts blocked it from going into effect. The Center for Reproductive Rights challenged SB 1848 in support of Dr. Larry Burns, an abortionist from Norman. Burns claimed he applied for admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, but was turned down.

The president of the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights is rejoicing over the decision. "Today's decision is a victory for Oklahoma women and another rebuke to politicians pushing underhanded laws that attack a woman's constitutionally guaranteed right to safe, legal abortion."

The court ruled that the law used an illegal practice forbidden by the Oklahoma constitution, known as logrolling. Logrolling refers to the practice of including more than one subject in a bill. In the words of the ruling, "The sections in SB 1848 are so unrelated and misleading that a legislator voting on this matter could have been left with an unpalatable all-or-nothing choice."

The court's ruling comes after the Oklahoma legislature passed a law earlier this year mandating the development of information to facilitate "an abortion-free society." In response, the State Department of Health passed a rule Tuesday requiring that all public restrooms post signs directing pregnant women to pro-life resources.

The signs will read,

There are many public and private agencies willing and able to help you carry your child to term and assist you and your child after your child is born, whether you choose to keep your child or to place him or her for adoption. The State of Oklahoma strongly urges you to contact them if you are pregnant.

The legislation was requested by Oklahomans for Life, and is part of Oklahoma's mission to have an "abortion-free society." The law would also require the state department of health to provide materials that "consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being."

In May, Gov. Fallin vetoed SB 1552, which would have criminalized abortion. Explaining her decision, she said, "The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered necessary to preserve the life of the mother."

She went on, "While I consistently have and continue to support a re-examination of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that re-examination."

In response, a local Baptist pastor, Paul Blair, said, "Quite frankly, it's our suspicion that she succumbed to political pressure."

State Senator Nathan Dahm, author of SB 1552, remarked,

To say it would be struck down is not her decision to make.To make that decision for the courts indicates she was trying to protect the courts from making that decision, or that she feels she's no longer just in the executive branch, but she now has jurisdiction over the judicial branch also.

 

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