Anti-abortion rally draws hundreds to state Capitol
Several hundred anti-abortion activists gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol to urge Republican lawmakers to criminalize abortion.
The rally focused on Senate Bill 13, which would classify abortion as murder.
“It’s just so black and white to me that a baby is a baby,” said Lisa Waggoner, an Ada resident who attended the rally.
Like many at the rally, Waggoner said she believes abolishing abortion might have a better chance of surviving a legal challenge following last year’s conservative swing on the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, the Supreme Court voted last week to block a Louisiana law that put restrictions on abortion, indicating the court’s position has not shifted as advocates of abortion restrictions have predicted.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m not optimistic,” said Dan Fisher, the former gubernatorial candidate, speaking about the likelihood of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision making abortion a constitutional right.
But Fisher, who finished fourth in last year’s Republican primary and ran his campaign on a platform of abolishing abortion, told Tuesday’s crowd he believes Oklahoma lawmakers should outlaw abortion without giving the Supreme Court consideration.
“When did the Supreme Court become the final arbitrator on what is right and what is moral?” Fisher asked the crowd.
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Sen. Joseph Silk, the author of SB 13, rejected the idea that the federal government could overturn an abortion ban.
“The state of Oklahoma does not have to have permission from the courts to stop killing babies,” said Silk, R-Broken Bow.
Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, who is against abortion, said last week he would take a legal challenge into consideration before moving a bill forward.
Treat, R-Oklahoma City, also acknowledged that bills like SB 13 have not withstood legal challenges in other states.
Abortion rights advocates in Oklahoma said SB 13 would be harmful to women and families.
“My biggest concern is (SB 13) criminalizes women’s bodies, which is pretty dangerous and scary,” said Danielle Williams, the board president for Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice. “This could put more women in prison just because of a biological event that happened to their bodies.”
The OCRJ opposes the 11 anti-abortion bills filed this session.
But Williams said her organization is also advocating for dozens of bills that would help reduce unplanned pregnancy and improve conditions for mothers and families, including paid family leave and scientifically based sex education in school.
“This is the first year we have seen a longer list of positive bills than negative bills for us,” Williams said.