Below we examine some of the bills relating directly to murder by abortion being considered by the Oklahoma Legislature.
When evaluating abortion bills, we begin with the fundamental principle that every human being is made in the image of God. Humans are different from opossums and cockroaches. Because we are all equally human and equally precious to God, we should be valued equally under the law. These are the key standards we use to measure an abortion bill:
- Equal Protection. The bill should provide equal protection against any and all would-be murderers and conspirators, including parents.
- Equal Justice. The bill should allow the punishment to fit the crime. There should be no penalty caps or misdemeanor-like “wrist slaps” for snuffing out innocent lives.
- Immediate. The bill should not delay enactment or implement incremental steps. The time for justice is always now.
- Jurisdiction. The bill should recognize and act on the fact of the constitutionally preeminent jurisdiction of the state over Washington, D.C. in matters of our civil criminal code.
SB 495 The “Equal Justice and Equal Protection Act” – by Sen. Warren Hamilton
Key Language: “Homicide shall include, but not be limited to, acts which cause the death of an unborn child committed during an abortion.”
Status: The Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee killed the bill in a 10-0 vote on 3 February 2021.
SB 612 Limited Abortion Ban – by Sen. Nathan Dahm
Key Language: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person shall not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”
Problems: The bill does not establish equal protection or equal justice because it contains a loophole for self-induced abortions. It would be criminal to perform an abortion, but not to procure one. That is, there is no criminalization of parents, grandparents, friends, boyfriends, and pimps who agitate, coerce, manipulate, or provide funds and material support for abortion.
Status: The Oklahoma Senate passed the bill 38-9 on 10 March 2021. It now goes to the House for consideration. We should encourage House author Rep. Jim Olsen to improve SB 612 along its legislative journey so it might ultimately attain to the standards of equal protection and equal justice.
SB 918 Trigger Bill – by Sen. Greg Treat (SB 923 – by Sen. Greg McCortney)
Key Language: “This act shall become effective on and after…The United States Supreme Court overrules the central holding of Roe v. Wade…”
Problems: It does not provide equal protection or equal justice. It is not immediate, and worse, it surrenders Oklahoma’s civil authority over abortion to SCOTUS.
Status: The Oklahoma Senate passed the bill 38-9 on 10 March 2021. It now goes to the House for consideration.
SJR 17 & HJR 1027 Proposed Constitutional Amendment – by Sen. David Bullard and Representatives Denise Crosswhite Hader and Tom Gann
Key Language: If enacted, this resolution would put before a vote of the people several new provisions to the state constitution, including this language: “Any person found guilty of performing an abortion…shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one (1) year nor more than three (3) years in the custody of the Department of Corrections.”
- Loophole: One of theproposed language changes is a loophole that renders the abortion ban meaningless. It states, “nor shall any provision of this [state] Constitution be construed to preclude, invalidate or in any way limit, a statute that…regulates abortion…” This provision acknowledges and leaves standing existing abortion regulations, thereby keeping abortion legal.
- Inequality: The resolution proposes to punish only those who perform abortions, and then with a sentence of only one to three years. Both God and the US Constitution require equal justice under the law.
- Wrong Mechanism: It is the Legislature’s job to codify the criminal code. This does not require a vote of the people. The Legislature should use a regular bill to modify and clarify existing statutes. We do not need a statewide vote to adjust criminal statutes that are already on the books.
- Cop-out: The proposed resolution allows legislators to shirk their duty and pass the buck off to the people.
- Waste of Political Capitol: Why expend all the time, energy, and political capital to get the resolution passed, only to still need another vote of the people? If the Legislature has the votes to pass the SJR, then it has the votes to change the criminal code and establish justice directly and immediately.
- Murder is not a Matter of Opinion: We should not allow a vote of the people to decide whether or not murder by abortion is legal. To submit this resolution to a vote of the people would be to communicate that we get to decide by vote whether murder by abortion is right or wrong. We should not be deciding absolute right and wrong by popular vote.
- Risk Insurmountable Set-back: If the vote were to go the wrong way, it could be a blow from which we would not recover for generations. The humanists and media would spin it that “The People have spoken. They want legal abortion. Case closed.” Because the concept of “consent of the governed” has been redefined to mean “whatever the governed want,” popular perception might be that the vote in favor of abortion is therefore binding upon future officials who want to abolish abortion.
Status: The resolution has been assigned to the Rules Committee in each legislative body. This measure should be opposed at every opportunity.
HB 1102 Abortion as “Unprofessional Conduct” – by Rep. Jim Olsen
Key Language: “The words ‘unprofessional conduct’…are hereby declared to include…Performance of an abortion…”
Problems: This bill alone would not establish justice, since revoking a medical license for a year is not an adequate response to murder. It is questionable whether the courts would allow licenses to be revoked for performing legal, state-sanctioned and state-regulated medical procedures. The bill does not address abortion procurement or self-induced abortions. While there is nothing inherently wrong with adding performance of abortion to the legal definition of Unprofessional Conduct, this is the kind of bill that legislators will hide behind. While shirking their duty to criminalize the performance and procurement of abortion across the board for everyone, they will point to their YES vote on this bill to convince voters that they are “pro-life.”
Status: The House passed the bill 81-18 on 9 March 2021, making it eligible to be heard in the Senate.
HB 2441 / SB723 Heartbeat Bill – by Rep. Todd Russ, Sen. Julie Daniels, Senators Dahm & Bullard et al.
Key Language: “No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman after such time as her unborn child has been determined to have a detectable heartbeat…” (HB 2441). “No physician shall perform an abortion if the physician determines the embryonic or fetal heartbeat is audible” (SB 723).
Problems: This bill discriminates against very young human beings who do not have detectable heartbeats. This violates the constitutionally guaranteed right to life and requirement for equal protection under the law. Therefore, this proposal is unlawful and should be rejected. Furthermore, the bill, if enacted would be completely unenforceable, since it would trust abortionists, whose livelihood depends on murder, to confirm that they found no heartbeats in their victims. This is the type of proposal that many pro-lifers choose to support rather than full criminalization.
Status: The House passed HB 2441 80-19 on 9 March 2021, making it eligible to be heard in the Senate. The Oklahoma Senate passed SB 723 38-9 on 10 March 2021. It now goes to the House for consideration. These bills should be opposed as a distraction and false alternative to what is needed and necessary.
This page last updated 17 March 2021