Oklahoma Republican State Senator Joe Silk has proposed SB 1118, which would define abortion as first-degree murder.
According to the first measure, to “perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion after conception” would carry the same punishment as existing first-degree murders of born residents.
Fellow GOP Senator Nathan Dahm had already introduced SB 1552, which would revoke a physician’s medical license for performing an abortion, but a petition circulated by the Abolitionist Society of Norman demanded even stronger action. With 30,000 signatures, the petition “demand[ed] that our legislators stop passing laws to regulate abortion and instead outlaw all abortion as murder […] not five, ten or fifteen years down the road.”
The group also hailed SB 1118’s introduction for “unabashedly def[ying] the Supreme Court’s perversion and denunciation of the constitutional right to life, and seeks to establish justice for those being deprived of life without due process of law.”
The Oklahoma Senate will hold a hearing on both laws Tuesday.
There is some disagreement within the pro-life movement on specific strategies to end abortion, with many believing direct state criminalization will be ineffective until Roe v. Wade is overturned with either a new Supreme Court ruling, a constitutional amendment, or act of Congress such as the Life at Conception Act.
Another point of contention is the prospect of imprisoning women who seek abortions. Most pro-lifers believe only the abortionist should face jail time. SB 1118’s language seems to indicate that only direct action to “perform or induce” is punishable (i.e., carrying out the procedure itself or attempting to self-abort), but its true impact is unknown, and will likely be explored during Tuesday’s hearing.