(KTEN) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the right to an abortion is protected during life-threatening situations.

"I'm relieved that, at the least, they are not going to force women to die. At least for emergency situations, we have a step in the right direction. I am thankful for that,” said Madill local James Hodges.

Plaintiffs in the case — including the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice organization — argued that the Oklahoma constitution protects the right to an abortion outside of an active medical emergency.

"We believe that abortion is basic healthcare and the fact that we continue to have barriers and obstacles that are now forcing Oklahomans to travel thousands of miles to get basic care that they need,"  said OCRJ co-chair Tamya Cox-Touré. 

The Supreme Court ruled in a narrow 5-4 decision that under the state Constitution, a woman has a right to an abortion to preserve her life if a doctor determines that continuing the pregnancy would endanger her.

"We were, unfortunately, a little disappointed with the court," said OCRJ co-chair Tamya Cox-Touré. "But we do realize that they did find a limited right to an abortion in our state Constitution. We were hoping that they would actually find that right extended to all abortions and that Oklahomans would be able to access abortions for any reason."

The court's analysis states, "Requiring one to wait until there is a medical emergency would further endanger the life of the pregnant woman and does not serve a compelling state interest."

"I'm seriously concerned. I remember when my wife and I were starting our family, and unfortunately, my wife had 2 miscarriages, so I do understand the situation for women," Hodges explained. "I'm concerned about my own daughters and family members not being able to access the health care they need."

Governor Stitt criticized the Oklahoma Supreme Court's 5-4 opinion in a statement: 

"I wholeheartedly disagree with this activist majority's opinion creating a right to an abortion in Oklahoma." Governor Stitt stated. "Alarmingly, this activist majority acted out of hand by making a policy decision that belongs to the people. Chief Justice Kane said it best in his well-written dissent: 'This Court should adhere to the Constitution given to us, not craft what we believe to be a "better" Constitution. The power lies with the people.'"

Abortions remain illegal in Oklahoma in nearly all cases.