Oklahoma Supreme Court Claims Ballot Initiative to Ban Abortion Is Unconstitutional

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down a petition to place on the state ballot a proposal to ban abortion in the state, as it claimed that the concept is unconstitutional.

Proposed Question 782, Initiative 406 would have amended the Oklahoma Constitution to include abortion as murder, and would criminalize those who take the life of an unborn child. It had been filed by Russell Hunter of the Abolitionist Society of Norman.

In addition to surgical and medical abortions, the initiative would “prohibit contraception that causes the death of an unborn human being.” It would also ban “the deliberate destruction of unborn human beings created in a laboratory.” It would not, however, general ban birth control or in-vitro fertilization.

Secular groups predicted following the filing that the proposal would not be permitted by the state Supreme Court.

“It is abundantly clear that any measure that would interfere with a woman’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights, including the legal right to have access to abortion, is unconstitutional,” Ryan Kiesel of the ACLU of Oklahoma told Tulsa World.

Hunter said that the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the deaths of nearly 60 million children and counting, was itself unconstitutional.

“The question is whether or not the Supreme Court ruling that born people have the right to kill unborn people was, in fact, constitutional in the first place,” he told the outlet. “That is what needs to be challenged.”

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“You can search day and night through the Constitution and you will never find one line supporting the idea that human beings can be deprived of the right to live simply because they are small, weak and unwanted,” Hunter said.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously rejected the petition in a two-page ruling, contending that “[t]he proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution is facially unconstitutional.” It said that the court “is not free to impose its own view of the law.”

Hunter said that he expected the decision, but does not agree with it, and hopes local residents will urge lawmakers to put it on the ballot.

“I am a Christian, so I should love my neighbors as I love myself” he said. “That would be all my neighbors, even my unborn neighbors and should uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution says no person shall be deprived of the right to life.”

Hunter had also been behind a petition signed by over 30,000 Oklahoma residents, calling for lawmakers to immediately present legislation that would completely end abortion in the state. The petition resulted in the presentation of S.B. 1118 by Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow.

The bill would have added killing an unborn child to existing murder statutes, but was stalled in the state Senate earlier this month by Republican leadership.


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