While abortion is against the law constitutionally, it is quite legal statutorily. Currently, Oklahoma’s various abortion-related statutes are radically contradictory. One statute indicates that those who perform abortions could be punished by two to five years in jail, while another statute provides that those who hire an abortionist risk spending only a year or less in the county jail. Then we find another statute that contradicts both of these by specifically including an “unborn child” in its definition of homicide, while at the same time making exceptions for a “legal abortion.” Hundreds of pages of pro-life statutes regulate abortion as healthcare by prescribing means and methods of performing abortions that are considered legal.
The job of the Legislature is to make it clear that abortion is criminal. It must remove all contradictions and ambiguity. Yet, neither Senate President Matt Pinnell, Pro Tem Greg Treat, nor House Speaker Charles McCall has had the courage to criminalize abortion. Whatever they may claim, they should know and understand their duty.
Certainly, they know that their own member, Senator Joseph Silk, Republican from Broken Bow, has filed the “Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act” (Senate Bill 13). Certainly they know that SB 13 would rectify the confusion caused by Oklahoma’s inconsistent statutes related to abortion. They must know that their conservative voters are behind SB 13. They know that the people support asserting state sovereignty to abolish abortion completely. They have seen the rallies, read the distributed literature, followed social media, heard the news stories, and met with lobbying citizen activists. Undeniably, these three legislative leaders are without excuse.
Just before spring break, a state representative tried to make the case to Oklahomans United for Life that abortion was already against the law in Oklahoma and that the Legislature did not need the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act. He was either innocently ignorant, or more likely, deceptively playing dumb, but either way, we offered to show him a few examples of the plethora of Pro-Life Smoking Guns that have legalized abortion in Oklahoma. Here they are with the smoking guns and loopholes in italics:
- The original definition of homicide in Statute 21-691 was simply “Homicide is the killing of one human being by another.” However, it was later amended to create a loophole for regulated abortions: “Homicide shall not include: 1. Acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during a legal abortion to which the pregnant woman consented…”
- Statute 63-1-732, “Grounds to abort,” directly legalizes all abortion before “viability,” which is defined as twenty-four weeks: “No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman after such time as her unborn child has become viable…” It goes on to make exceptions for children after viability for the “health” of the mother, which includes “mental health.” Therefore, practically every abortion is legal under this statute.
- Statute 63-1-731, “Persons who may perform abortions,” is another smoking gun: “No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman unless that person is a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Oklahoma.” Even if an unlicensed person performs the abortion, the penalty is only one to three years in prison.
- Statute 63-1-746.2, “Voluntary and informed consent,” legalizes abortion based on consent: “No abortion shall be performed or induced or attempted to be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of the female…”
- Statute 63-1-745.14, “Making heartbeat audible before abortion,” states: “Any abortion provider who knowingly performs or induces any abortion shall comply with the requirements of the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act.” As long as they comply, the abortions are legal.
- Statute 63-1-738.3d, “Ultrasound required prior to procedure,” states: “Any abortion provider who knowingly performs any abortion shall comply with the requirements of this section.” Again, as long as they comply, the abortions are legal.
- According to statute 63-1-737.4, “Required signage in abortion facilities,” abortion providers must tell their customers: “By law, we cannot perform, induce, prescribe for, or provide you with the means for an abortion unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent.” This reiterates that consent is a required component of legal abortion.
- Statute 63-1-737.9, “Unlawful dismemberment abortions,” states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be unlawful for any person to purposely perform or attempt to perform a dismemberment abortion and thereby kill an unborn child unless necessary to prevent serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” This simply reiterates that any unwanted child can become a “mental health” risk for those who choose to dismember him.
- Statute 63-1-737.6 provides that abortions can be legally performed on minors as long as they consent: “The means for an abortion cannot be provided unless she provides her freely given, voluntary, and informed consent.”
The language of Senate Bill 13, the “Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act” is essential to closing these legal loopholes and establishing justice for preborn persons. We must ask Senate President Matt Pinnell, Pro Tem Greg Treat, and Speaker Charles McCall to adopt the language necessary to criminalize abortion and establish justice.