Abortion Rights Supporters Say They Are 'Elated' About SCOTUS Decision

Monday, June 27th 2016, 5:35 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Supporters of abortion rights are calling Monday’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on restrictions on abortion clinics "historic." 

In a 5-3 ruling, the justices decided that Texas abortion clinic regulations are medically unnecessary and place a burden on a woman's right to have an abortion.

The Texas law required doctors who perform the procedure to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and for clinics to have facilities similar to outpatient surgical centers.

Oklahoma lawmakers also passed a law mandating doctors at abortion clinics are required to have hospital privileges, but the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked the law from taking effect as it makes its way through the state court system.

State Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he is reviewing the decision.

In southwest Oklahoma City, contractors are finishing up work on the first abortion clinic to open in the state in more than 40 years. Monday, the woman opening the clinic said she was "elated" by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.

“We can safely say that this is unconstitutional and people should not be treated this way when they are trying to access abortion services,” said Julie Burkhart, CEO of Trust Women. 

The Supreme Court ruled the Texas law put an undue burden on women trying to access quality abortion care. 

Burkhart said the law could have been problematic to opening and operating their Oklahoma City clinic.

“For people all over the state of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, it has a direct impact on those people’s lives, and people will be able to better access abortion care that they may need or want,” she said.

Those who supported the restrictions, however argued they would have protected women's health.

“This seems to be a serious disservice to women,” said the Rev. Bill Pruitt, the pastor of St. James Church. 

He was one of those protesting outside the future clinic Monday.

“It would be immoral, it seems to me, for anyone to perform this operation without having the type of safeguards that hospitals normally guarantee,” he said.

There is another abortion clinic in Norman. The doctor there has said in the past, the law requiring him to have hospital privileges would have shut him down.