On Saturday, Oklahoma Senator Joseph Silk introduced the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act (SB13), a bill that not only criminalizes abortions, but classifies abortions as homicides that can be punishable by life imprisonment. Whilst discussing the bill, Senator Silk equated seeking an abortion to killing a one-year-old child.
According to Sen. Silk, SB 13’s intent is to provide equal protection for unborn children under state law. Sen. Silk further defines a child as “created the moment of fertilization when sperm and the egg combine.” Moreover, there are no exceptions for incest or rape under SB 13, exceptions that Sen. Silk declared, without evidence, to be rare situations in a radio interview. SB13 attempts to void any federal laws, regulations, or court decisions, such as Roe v. Wade, that protect abortion access, even though this is unconstitutional.
Reproductive rights activists and organizations heavily criticize Sen. Silk and SB 13. In response to the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) scrutinized Sen. Silk for his lack of understanding in constitutional law and the blatant illegality of his bill.
Previously attempted abortion-restricting bills in Oklahoma have been blocked or ruled as unconstitutional by courts. In 2016, an anti-abortion bill instituted felony punishments for abortion providers, but was permanently blocked by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Newswire Sources: Bustle 12/1/18; Tulsa World 12/1/18; Feminist Newswire 10/7/16