Oklahoma City, OK — On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Senate will hear two of the most controversial anti-abortion bills in recent history. One bill would revoke the medical license of any physician who performs an abortion, and the other bill would criminalize abortion as an act of first-degree murder.
This legislation is an unprecedented move by anti-abortion advocates. However, this sentiment is not uncommon. Lawmakers in the past have attempted to arrest, at least, one woman, for murder, after inducing an abortion.
In June of 2015, Kenlissa Jones, 23, was charged with malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug, after taking a pill to induce an abortion.
According to officials, When Jones found out she was pregnant, she ordered the ‘abortion pill’ from an online pharmacy in Canada. The drug was called Cytotec which is an anti-ulcer medication, with known off-label indications such as medication abortion, medical management of miscarriage, induction of labor, cervical ripening before surgical procedures, and the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage.
After Jones had explained to doctors what she did, she was placed in the Dougherty County jail and was held without bond.
However, after spending three days in jail, and realizing they had no grounds to hold her, Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards issued a statement saying he had dismissed the malice murder charges against Jones.
Had legislation, similar to the Bills currently proposed in Oklahoma, been on the books, Jones would still be in jail, and her 2-year-old child would be without her mother.
According to S.B. 1118, as proposed by Sen. Joe Silk, R-Broken Bow, of Oklahoma, any attempt to end one’s pregnancy would be considered murder.
“No person shall perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion after conception,” it reads. “A person commits murder in the first degree when that person performs an abortion as defined by Section 1-745.5 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes.”
S.B. 1118 is not some fringe legislation with no chance of passing either. In fact, it is going to hearing on the Senate floor Tuesday because a whopping 30,000 Oklahoma residents signed a petition in support of this bill.
The petition, circulated by the Abolitionist Society of Norman and their supporters, reads as follows:
“[W]e hereby respectfully demand that our state government stop protecting the murder of children by abortion within its jurisdiction and establish justice for all pre-born human beings in our state. We demand that our legislators stop passing laws to regulate abortion and instead outlaw all abortion as murder.
“We demand that these changes be made now—not five, ten or fifteen years down the road. In short, we the people of the state of Oklahoma demand the total and immediate abolition of human abortion as the legal, constitutional and moral duty of our elected and appointed officials.”
Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow has proposed an accompanying Bill that would strip doctors of their medical licenses and lock them in a cage if they perform an abortion.
According to S.B. 1552,
“Any physician participating in the performance of an abortion shall be prohibited from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in this state. No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than three years in the state penitentiary.”
Treating abortion as an absolute crime is dangerous because it says no matter what, regardless of rape, potential harm to the mother, health of the child, or any other unforeseen reasons that may require prematurely ending a pregnancy, that a murder has been, or will be committed — and this is simply not true.
Unfortunately, many people allow emotion to rule their logic and end up holding beliefs which are entirely contradictory. For example, one cannot be ‘Pro-life’ while at the same time being Pro-war. Conversely, one cannot advocate for the state to “get out of their uterus” while at the same time demanding state money to pay for abortions.
Abortion is a reality, and society is slowly figuring out how to deal with it. But, the more the state attempts to interject their bias into this reality, the more skewed the situation becomes.
A society that treats the potential for life as disposable is a society in a crisis of conscience, and in need of self-reflection. That being said, however, a society will not be magically repaired by criminalizing cultural norms. Destroying life to potentially save life is as hypocritical as it is ineffective.