Supremes Dump Oklahoma Court Case and I Am Bummed About It

PodiumandSeal

There are times when I get up and walk off the House floor.

I go to my office and tell my secretary not to let anyone in. Or, I will go wandering around the rotunda.

But I get away from the mike on my desk and its ever-beckoning invitation to let fly and say whatever I want.

Because what I would want to say in that heated moment is not what I would want to say later, after the dust has settled and I’ve found my inner sane.

I am in a similar situation now, which is why I am not going to weigh in on the only bit of news today that has anything directly to do with me. Because I know that what I would say now is not what I would want to have said later.

Sometimes, it’s better to just keep your mouth shut.

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided not to hear a case based on an Oklahoma law concerning the prescribing of drugs used in chemical abortions. I co-authored an amicus curiae brief in favor of this law, along with my friend House Majority Leader Pam Peterson. That’s why I’ve been mum on this case up until now.

I will talk about it more. Later.

For now, here are a few facts (which I will have some thoughts about in the future) from the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court left in place Monday a decision by Oklahoma’s highest court that a major provision of that state’s new abortion law is unconstitutional because it effectively bans all medication abortions.

The high court last summer had tentively agreed to consider the issue but asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court for clarification on exactly what the law proscribes. The Oklahoma court issued an opinion last week that the law would effectively end the early-term practice of medication-induced abortions, and was thus unconstitutional.

Upon receiving the Oklahoma opinion, the Supreme Court then announced Monday that it will not schedule the case for briefing and consideration. As is customary, the justices gave no reason for deciding not to hear the case.

It is clear, however, that there are other ways for the issue to reach the Supreme Court. A number of states have passed similar restrictions on medication abortions, and the issue is working its way through the courts.

Reps Hamilton, Peterson File Amicus Brief in Abortion Drug Supreme Court Case

I thought you might enjoy seeing this. The only public statements I will make about this are the press release below and the brief itself. Feel free to discuss it yourselves, though.

 

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Media Division

October 9, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Authored: State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton

Authored: State Rep. Pam Peterson

Contact: Jason Sutton

Capitol: (405) 557-7421

Reps. Hamilton, Peterson File Amicus Brief in Abortion Drug Supreme Court Case

OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, Oklahoma State Representatives Pam Peterson, Republican from Tulsa, and Rebecca Hamilton, Democrat from Oklahoma City, are filing a “friend-of-the-court” brief in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, in defense of House Bill 1970, which regulates the use of drugs that are prescribed to cause an abortion.

“H.B. 1970 is a reasonable legislative measure that is intended to ensure the health and safety of women seeking chemical abortions,” Rep. Hamilton explained.

The law was challenged by Oklahoma abortion providers and was struck down by a state district court judge on state constitutional grounds.

“The district court’s determination that the Oklahoma Constitution confers a right to abortion cannot be reconciled with the text, history or interpretation of the state constitution,” Rep. Peterson said. “From territorial days to the present, the State of Oklahoma has recognized and protected the rights of unborn children in criminal law, tort law, health care law and property law,” she added.

Although, because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), abortion is legal in Oklahoma, the practice of abortion is subject to reasonable regulation like that provided by H.B. 1970. No federal constitutional claims were raised in the state court challenge. The case is Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, et al., vs. Terry L. Cline, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, et al., Docket No. 110765.

The legislators’ brief was drafted by Paul Benjamin Linton, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm.

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