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Dustin Rowe District 2

District 2 Counties: McIntosh, Sequoyah, Haskell, Pittsburgh, Latimer, LeFlore, Atoka, Pushmataha, McCurtain, Choctaw, Bryan, Johnston, Marshall

 

Appointed by/year: Governor Kevin Stitt, 2019


Retention Election: 2028

Registered As: Republican

Memberships: Chickasaw Nation

 

Contact: Oklahoma Judicial Center, 2100 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105 or dustin.rowe@oscn.net

Hometown: Tishomingo, Oklahoma

Bachelors: East Central University

 

Jurisdoctorate:  University of Oklahoma College of Law

Current Service: Faculty for National Judicial College, Reno Nevada; Adjunct faculty for Oklahoma City University School of Law; Board of Visitors for Oklahoma College of Law

Previous Service: Mayor of Tishomingo; Tishomingo City Attorney; Special Judge of the Chickasaw Nation District Court; District Judge of the Chickasaw Nation District Court

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OVERVIEW

This decision is related to ‘reproductive justice’ in Oklahoma, specifically addressing the implications of a statute affecting ‘women's rights to terminate a pregnancy.’

MAJORITY CONCLUSION

“We hold the Oklahoma Constitution under the provisions of article II sections 2 and 7 protects the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy in order to preserve her life. Having determined the Oklahoma Constitution protects the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy in order to preserve her life, we hold that 63 O.S. Supp. 2022, § 1-731.4 does not pass strict scrutiny review and is void and unenforceable. We hold, 21 O.S. 2021, § 861 does not violate this protection as it allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy, as defined herein, in order to preserve her life. Therefore we grant Petitioner declaratory relief as to 63 O.S. Supp. 2022, § 1-731.4 but deny declaratory relief as to 21 O.S. 2021, § 861. Having found § 1-731.4 is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable, it is unnecessary to address the Petitioners' request for injunctive relief and/or writ of prohibition. Petitioners request for injunctive relief and/or a writ of prohibition is denied. See Hunsucker v. Fallin, 2017 OK 100, ¶37, 408 P.3d 599, 612.

JUSTICE ROWE

DISSENTS

INTERPRETIVE CHALLENGES

(commentary)

The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly or implicitly express or recognize the right to terminate a pregnancy/’reproductive rights’ as federal rights, therefore it is a false interpretation that begs the claim that the right to life excludes unborn children/preborn babies/fetuses. Further, it more than guarantees a person’s right to life, and to exclude preborn babies/fetuses from being persons ignores original intent and basic morality from which our nations’ laws are derived. It is necessary to include the U.S. Constitution in the analysis of this state decision as certain federal rights contained within preempt any state laws which violate those federally protected rights.
As for the Oklahoma Constitution, Article II, Sections 2 and 7 are cited as the basis for the interpretation that women have the right to terminate a pregnancy, or in other words- ‘reproductive rights.’ Article II, Section 2 states, “All persons have the inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry” and Section 7 states “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” As discussed in the previous paragraph, a person’s right to life is explicitly expressed and recognized in the U.S. Constitution, and as it does not exclude preborn babies/fetuses (nor was it common during which time the U.S. Constitution was written to exclude unborn children/preborn babies/fetuses from personhood as well the violation of basic morality in taking such a life), these two sections of the Oklahoma Constitution cannot be interpreted to exclude unborn children/preborn babies/fetuses, let alone falsely interpret them as to include the right to terminate a pregnancy or ‘reproductive rights.’

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