Health Care, Law & Principles
OSMA brief: ‘pregnant people’ deserve ‘abortion care’
September 28, 2022
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.