Unanimous Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Dangerous “Personhood” Initiative

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Robyn Shepherd, ACLU National, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org
Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma, (405) 525-3831; rkiesel@acluok.org

Unanimous Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Dangerous “Personhood” Initiative

ACLU and Women’s Health Advocates Had Filed Lawsuit to Protect Vital Health Services in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously struck down a proposed ballot initiative that would have banned vital health services by granting fertilized eggs and embryos the same constitutional rights as people. The justices ruled that the initiative was unconstitutional in light of the previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the right to have an abortion.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of six Oklahoma voters. If passed, the initiative would have outlawed many critical reproductive health services, including all abortion care, commonly used forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization and treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.

“The proponents of this initiative were attempting to insert politicians into the deeply personal medical decisions of Oklahoma women and their families,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. “We’re relieved that this dangerous initiative won’t be on the ballot.”

“The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that women have the right to safe, legal abortion services and other reproductive health care,” said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “The Oklahoma court has sent a strong message that attempts to pass laws that are so hostile to women’s rights and health will not prevail in a court of law.”

More information on this case can be found at: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/re-initiative-petition-no-395-state-qu...

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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