New Oklahoma Bill Would Make Abortion Punishable By Life In Prison

photographed by Sage McAvoy.
Following the footsteps of Republicans in Ohio, an Oklahoma state senator has introduced a new bill that would make abortion a felony homicide punishable by life in prison.
Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Republican Sen. Joseph Silk, gives fetuses equal protection under state laws and includes abortion in Oklahoma's definition of felony homicide. The legislation, dubbed the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act, makes no exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or danger to a woman's life. "It’s gonna be classified as a homicide because, essentially, a fertilized egg is a human life just like a 1-year-old baby is a human life," Silk told KFOR. "So, an abortion would be considered intentionally taking a human life."
It also calls on the state of Oklahoma to ignore all federal rulings on abortion, including Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that made it legal for women to chose an abortion. Not that it matters, since in the U.S. federal law supersedes state law.
Oklahoma's SB13 is not the first unconstitutional legislation state representatives have been trying to implement this year. In Ohio, the state Legislature voted last month to ban abortion at six weeks, when most women don't even know they're pregnant. Some Ohio representatives also introduced legislation that would ban abortion entirely and could make the procedure punishable by the death penalty. Mississippi and Louisiana tried to ban abortion at 15 weeks, but a federal judge permanently struck down the former's law.
Anti-choice politicians feel emboldened by the current administration and President Donald Trump's promise to overturn Roe. After the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, reproductive health advocates say conservative state legislatures are more likely to pass anti-abortion legislation with the hopes of challenging Roe.
"We are gonna see a number of states, if not passing extreme abortion bans, [at least] debating them and seriously consider them in 2019. Most of the attention has been focused on the Supreme Court and passing restrictions that are unconstitutional right now, but could provide the court with the opening to undermine or overturn Roe," Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, told Refinery29 last month. "There are multiple opportunities for the courts to weigh in. It’s a very dangerous time, if you support abortion rights."
In Oklahoma's case, however, Silk denied that SB13 is an attempt to bring a legal challenge to Roe. "The goal is to say we are a sovereign state and choose to abolish abortion," he told the local newspaper Tulsa World.

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