Health Care , Law & Principles

Ray Carter | September 28, 2022

OSMA brief: ‘pregnant people’ deserve ‘abortion care’

Ray Carter

The Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA) has joined an amici curiae brief calling for Oklahoma’s abortion laws to be struck down, declaring those restrictions violate the Oklahoma Constitution’s guarantee of the “right to life.”

In its arguments, the association also downgraded the role of women, consistently referring to those who obtain abortions instead by gender-neutral descriptors such as “pregnant patients,” “pregnant people,” and “pregnant individuals,” a rhetorical concession to transgender activists who espouse the idea that “pregnant men” can give birth.

The amici curiae brief, in which the OSMA joined with several groups, states that legal restrictions on what it calls “abortion care” violate the Oklahoma Constitution’s protection of an individual’s “inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” declaring bodily autonomy to be part of the right to liberty and abortion part of bodily autonomy.

The brief notes that Oklahoma law now restricts abortion in many instances, although the document acknowledges state law still allows abortion “where necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant individual.”

The OSMA brief declares abortion “an essential part of comprehensive health care” that is “for many patients, the best medical choice for their specific health circumstances.”

The brief does not identify any medical circumstance that would require abortion outside of those incidents already covered by the current “life of the mother” exemption.

Instead, the OSMA declares pregnancy to be a risk to women, stating that “continuing a pregnancy to term presents higher risk to the health and mortality of the pregnant patient than obtaining a safe, legal abortion.”

The OSMA tacitly acknowledged that if its legal arguments prevail in court, one byproduct may be to reduce racial diversity in Oklahoma. The OSMA brief acknowledged that the unborn children eliminated by abortion are disproportionately minority with 22.5 percent of abortions in Oklahoma performed on black patients and 7.4 percent on American Indians.

In its brief, the OSMA states that it represents 4,000 “physicians and medical students across the state.”

According to the 2021 “Oklahoma Physician Workforce Profile” produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), there were 8,293 active physicians in Oklahoma that year, 1,019 medical students, and 1,201 residents.

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.

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