A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a portion of the state’s near total ban on abortion, ruling women have a right to abortion when pregnancy risks their health, not just in a medical emergency.
It was a narrow win for abortion rights advocates since the U.S. Supreme Court s truck down Roe v. Wade.
The court ruled that a woman has the right under the state Constitution to receive an abortion to preserve her life if her doctor determines that continuing the pregnancy would endanger it due to a condition she has or is likely to develop during the pregnancy. Previously, the right to an abortion could only take place in the case of medical emergency.
The court, however, declined to rule on whether the state Constitution grants the right to an abortion for other reasons.
The court voted 5-4 on the ruling in the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and others challenging the state laws passed after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
“People’s lives have been endangered by Oklahoma’s cruel abortion bans, and now doctors will be able to help pregnant people whose lives they believe are at risk,” Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement after the ruling. “We are disappointed that the Court declined to rule whether the state Constitution also protects the right to abortion outside of these circumstances."
Progressives have had tremendous success passing all sorts of reforms at the ballot box in recent years, including measures that have expanded Medicaid, increased the minimum wage, and created independent redistricting commissions. How have Republicans responded? By making it harder to qualify measures for the ballot.
On this episode of The Downballot we take a deep dive on the GOP's war on ballot initiatives, which includes burdensome signature requirements that disproportionately impact liberals; ramping up the threshold for passage for citizen-backed measures but not those referred by legislatures; and simply repealing voter-passed laws Republicans don't like. But Republican power is not unfettered, and Stephen explains how progressives can fight back by defeating efforts to curtail ballot measures—many of which voters themselves would first have to approve.