Supreme Court lets stand ruling declaring Oklahoma ban on medication abortion unconstitutional

The high court dismissed the state's appeal of a previous ruling, ending a long battle over medication abortion

By Katie McDonough

Published November 4, 2013 5:32PM (EST)

           (AP/Evan Vucci)
(AP/Evan Vucci)

A bright spot in the recent spate of body blows to reproductive rights: The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that declared the state's absolute ban on medication abortion unconstitutional, ending a long legal battle over women's access to medication abortion and the non-surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancies in the state.

The high court's decision to dismiss the state's appeal is the final word on a 2011 law banning the off-label use of abortion-inducing medication. The law was twice struck down as an unconstitutional burden on women's access to abortion, once by a district court and again by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

According to data from the Guttmacher Institute, one-quarter of abortions before nine weeks are medication abortions, and non-surgical abortion is the most commonly used treatment for ectopic pregnancies.

“The Supreme Court has let stand a strong decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that recognized this law for what it is: an outright ban on a safe method of ending a pregnancy in its earliest stages, and an unconstitutional attack on women’s health and rights," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“Politicians have been pushing for these restrictions nationwide under the thin pretext of protecting women’s health," she continued, "but their real agenda is to deny women their right to end a pregnancy safely, early and in consultation with their doctors.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

MORE FROM Katie McDonoughFOLLOW kmcdonovgh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Abortion Care Abortion Rights Ectopic Pregnancies Oklahoma Women's Health Women's Rights