Last week we brought you a special report on the killing of SB 495, the Equal Protection and Equal Justice (for the preborn) Act (The Act). And now you will know the rest of the story. Leading up to the committee vote, a false narrative of fear was circulated, fearmongering that was gobbled up by naïve senators on the committee, and even swallowed by some grassroots conservatives who should have known better.
Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) President Bob Linn offered a baffling defense of Senate leadership, going so far as to call the committee’s rejection of The Act “godly wisdom.” This from a group that has supported almost identical language for the last three years. Linn disingenuously claims they mistakenly supported the bill “not realizing that the legislation would include [a] dangerous element.” Again, the bill has not substantially changed in four years, so what is this new “dangerous element” that has Linn flip-flopping on The Act?
The false fear that was spread, presumably by Senate leadership, is, “Because of judicial severability, a court could declare the abolition [of abortion] unconstitutional but rule that eliminating every prolife bill in Oklahoma law was completely constitutional.” In other words, the narrative was circulated and believed that a radical judge might take the opportunity of The Act to give the state exactly the opposite of what would have been enacted by the legislature and governor. Rather than criminalizing all abortion as intended, the judge would remove any and all restrictions upon murder by abortion.
This scenario should not be feared. While it is true that judges at times will sever certain aspects of a law and call them unconstitutional, they rarely do so in a way that turns the intent of a law on its head. To broaden the scope of abortion, rather than to criminalize it, a judge would have to go one hundred eighty degrees against the clear intent and direction of the legislature, which is very unlikely. But even if we imagine this worst case scenario, the legislature remains in total control of the process. Should a judge do something so ridiculous, and the governor be too cowardly to ignore it, the legislature could immediately repeal The Act, thus preserving the status quo. Therefore, fear of a rogue judge is irrational.
But wait, there’s more! Besides the complete criminalization of all abortion (rendering existing pro-life restrictions meaningless, since they would be addressing now unlawful activity), the second main purpose of The Act is to directly defy current and future court opinions, such as Roe v. Wade and its corollaries, which support murder by abortion. The Act presupposes that courts will in fact try to stay The Act and opine that it is unconstitutional. The very language and directives of The Act anticipate the courts and direct state agencies how to respond.
Carefully read Sections 40 and 41 of The Act: “A. Any federal statute, regulation, treaty, executive order or court ruling which purports to supersede, stay or overrule this act is in violation of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma and the Constitution of the United States of America and is therefore void. B. This state, a political subdivision of this state and any agents of this state or a political subdivision of this state may disregard any part or the whole of any court decision which purports to enjoin or void any provision of this act. SECTION 41… The provisions, words, phrases and clauses of this act are declared to be inseverable.”
As you can see, The Act itself anticipates the courts will play the tyrant and expects the state to have to bow-up against judicial actions such as the one being posited by Senate leadership. One of the main objectives of The Act is to show that Oklahoma will no longer stand for such wicked behavior. This objective is so important that language like Sections 40 and 41 of The Act should be amended to other bills like SB 612 by Sen. Nathan Dahm which the Committee did pass in lieu of SB 495.
Anyone who argues that we must fear a future court opinion against The Act is not familiar with the strategy of exercising state sovereignty to abolish abortion which is clearly laid out in The Act. Such concerns must be born of ignorance of the proposition, irrational fear, or perhaps a sycophantic desire to please Senate leadership.
Our elected state officials have constitutional, statutory, and moral authority to abolish abortion, yet they refuse to do so.
Returning to Linn’s article, he goes on to praise Oskar Schindler and Corrie Ten Boom for saving as many lives as possible while laboring under wicked laws. These were heroic private citizens. At issue today is not what should be done by private citizens, those who are without legal authority to change the law, but what our current magistrates should do. Our elected state officials have constitutional, statutory, and moral authority to abolish abortion, yet they refuse to do so. We must not pretend that our state magistrates are in the same position as Oskar Schindler. This is a false analogy that politicians like Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat have been hiding behind for years. They continue to plead that they must obey man (court opinions) rather than God and our constitutions.
Linn rightly points out that “The American courts…have made themselves the sovereign ruler of America. This needs to change…,” but the status quo cannot change without a challenge from an outside authority. The Act, backed by the legislature and governor, would have been that challenge and an opportunity to change the status quo by defying judges’ wicked opinions.
We have not done all we can do. We can criminalize all abortion, enforce those laws, and ignore wicked court opinions.
Linn concludes the article with an offering of thanks to “the Pro-Life movement who did, and are still doing all they can do within their abilities, while waiting for a greater deliverance to come.” While we agree that the pro-life movement began with good intent and has saved lives, the debate is now over what to do going forward. Sitting around “waiting for a greater deliverance to come” is not going to save any more lives.
Linn’s attitude here is reflective of the old paradigm of “obey and wait,” which are the watch words of the establishment pro-life political industry. But among the grassroots faithful, that paradigm has shifted to abolition, a mindset that says: We have not done all we can do. We can criminalize all abortion, enforce those laws, and ignore wicked court opinions. We have already played the waiting game for forty-seven years and proved beyond reasonable doubt that waiting does not work. As a state, we must obey God rather than man.
We do not know to what extent Mr. Linn’s view is shared by other OCPAC leaders or members—perhaps it is not—but we hope that those who do share it will reconsider in light of these remarks. The abolition of abortion will only be delayed by propping up ineffectual Senate leaders and those who follow and repeat their sophistry.