Life Legal Defense Foundation is urging the United States Supreme Court to review a decision of the Oklahoma supreme court striking a ballot initiative that would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to define “person” as “any human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death.” In a friend of the court brief filed on Friday, August 31, LLDF told the Court that the Oklahoma court ruling conflicted with prior Supreme Court precedent and should be reversed.
Earlier this year, Personhood Oklahoma began the process of collecting signatures to place Initiative Petition 395 on the ballot. Pro-abortion individuals, backed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, filed a protest with the supreme court of Oklahoma, claiming that IP 395 was unconstitutional and should not be permitted to be placed on the ballot.
The Oklahoma supreme court agreed, holding that, on its face, IP 395 conflicted with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, affirming the right of women to obtain abortions without “undue burden” from state laws. The court preemptively found the law unconstitutional and ordered that the petition be stricken.
Last month, Personhood Oklahoma filed a petition seeking review in the United States Supreme Court, and LLDF is supporting that petition with its own brief, arguing that the Oklahoma court “acted precipitously to deprive the petitioners and the people of the state of Oklahoma of their right to engage in political expression on a matter of great public concern.” Read the full text of the brief here.
“I find it incredible that the supreme court of any state would usurp the right of the people to initiate legislation and engage in political discourse about the merits of any proposed law,” said Allison Aranda, Senior Staff Counsel for LLDF. “The right to bring matters of public concern to national attention through the initiative process is fundamental to bringing about political change.”
The deprivation of such an important right has far reaching effects beyond just the Oklahoma amendment. If the United States Supreme Court does not affirm the right of the people to engage in the initiative process, the people’s power to effectuate real change in the pro-life arena is in danger of being completely subverted by activist judges who won’t even allow a vote on these issues. To support our efforts to protect the people’s right to propose life-affirming laws across this nation, please click here to make a donation.
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