Give Oklahoma lawmakers some credit. They don't mess around when it comes to pandering to their fellow Evangelical voters!
Yesterday afternoon, the Oklahoma House decided to close the first week of the 2020 legislative session by passing yet another (likely) unconstitutional anti-abortion bill that, this time around, would revoke the licenses of physicians who perform abortions – which, at last check, is still a legal medical procedure.
The bill – which is backed by the Oklahoma Republican party, religious groups and the Oklahoma Back Alley Abortion Association (OBAAA) – has naturally generated the typical amount of media attention and controversy.
In its first meaningful action of the 2020 legislative session, the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Thursday passed and sent to the Senate legislation that would effectively ban almost all abortions in the state by revoking the licenses of doctors performing the procedure, except in situations threatening the life of a woman.
House Bill 1182, by Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, 71-21 along party lines, with eight members absent or not voting. The measure would revoke for one year the medical licenses of doctors performing abortions except when a women's life is in danger. It specifically excludes the women's mental state as a consideration in such decision.
Whew. That's a relief. I was worried the State House was actually going to focus on important issues facing Oklahoma, before they passed unconstitutional legislation that wastes our time and resources. It's good to see they have their political priorities straight!
In typical Rube-publican fashion, Olsen came up with a weak, overreaching analogy to justify wanting state government to overreach into other people's lives.
Constitutionality is no longer viewed as the obstacle it once was by those intent on banning abortion. Aside from changes in the makeup of the federal courts, they take inspiration from state legalization of marijuana.Olsen, in an exchange with Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law but allowed for medicinal use in Oklahoma. Olsen said Oklahoma should assert the same principle regarding abortion — to in effect ignore federal court decisions.
I'm confused. Does this mean Olsen is advocating for recreational abortion?
Seriously, that's an absurd analogy, even by Derplahoman standards. There's absolutely no connection or correlation between states passing laws that legalize marijuana and states passing laws that obstruct constitutionally protected rights.
Olsen probably realized this, so he went with the God angle:
"We are told the (U.S.) Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land, that we cannot protest its decision," Olsen said in debate. "There is a court even higher than the Supreme Court. There is the court of God. Abortion is a violation of the law of God."
First of all, who's telling this dude that you can't protest Supreme Court decisions? There's nothing wrong with that! Also, if abortion is the violation of the law of God – I think he's referring to the Christian one – maybe we should let Judge God decide when the time is right?
Fortunately, a handful of our sensible representatives in the House made logical arguments about why this bill is a bad idea:
Democrats argued in vain that the measure amounts to "big brotherism" — an intrusion into personal safety, and that the ethics and morals of abortion is far from established. Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, pointed out that the Southern Baptist Convention once argued in favor of legalized abortion, and that the Puritans did not consider abortion wrong.
Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, said abortion rates have gone done most in states that have not tried to further restrict it and argued the most effective measure to reduce abortions has been easy access to contraceptives.
"Folks, this is not an easy issue," said Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman. "It’s not black and white. There are situations with a lot of nuance. For us to wade into the nuance, the most personal details of a person’s life, of a family ... for us to say that we know better, that we know what’s best for you, to insert ourselves into this most personal situation, I think is just wrong."
Wow. They made some smart, reasonable, and logical arguments as to why abortion — regardless of your moral or ethical stance — should be a legal medical procedure. Expect them all to be voted out of office next year.