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ACLU comments on nixed anti-abortion petition

Posted at 11:55 AM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-22 14:28:04-04

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Supreme Court says an initiative petition that calls for a statewide vote on whether to outlaw abortion in the state is unconstitutional.

The state's highest court handed down the decision Tuesday in connection with Initiative Petition 406. The court says the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that a woman has a right to obtain an abortion. Justices say they are legally bound to follow U.S. Supreme Court mandates on the issue.

Noble resident Thomas Hunter filed paperwork in January to launch the signature-gathering to outlaw abortion and declare that anyone who performs an abortion would be guilty of a homicide.

The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the petition on Feb. 12. It claimed that outlawing abortion goes against the U.S. and Oklahoma constitutions.

ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel sent a statement regarding the decision saying, “It’s abundantly clear that any measure that interferes with a woman’s reproductive rights, including the legal right to have access to abortion, is unconstitutional,” Kiesel said. Make no mistake about it, there remain serious threats to reproductive freedom in Oklahoma. There are those who are actively attempting to marginalize women and roll back the hard-earned progress we have made as a society. Today however, one of those efforts was defeated by over four decades of Supreme Court precedent that guarantee the fundamental right of women to make important medical decisions for themselves,” Kiesel said.

Kiesel also said the court’s ruling should not be viewed as “an example of the Oklahoma Supreme Court telling us what it thinks about reproductive rights.This is the Oklahoma Supreme Court simply reaffirming the very basic principals of federalism and constitutional law,” he said.

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