Abortion rally state Capitol

An anti-abortion rally was held on the first floor at the state Capitol in February 2019. DOUG HOKE/The Oklahoman file

OKLAHOMA CITY — Supporters of efforts to abolish abortion are expected to rally Tuesday at the Capitol.

Russell Hunter, a lobbyist for Free the States, said he expects a couple of thousand people to attend the event.

Free the States supports the abolition of abortion.

The organization is backing Senate Bill 13, by Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, which failed to obtain a committee hearing last session. The measure, dubbed the “Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act,” is still alive.

It seeks to abolish abortion, despite a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized it.

Senate Bill 13 would have the state ignore that decision. Hunter said it is not an attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade.

“It is the state of Oklahoma telling the Supreme Court that their opinion that the mass murder of pre-born humans must be legal in Oklahoma is evil and unconstitutional, and therefore, null, void and of no effect,” Hunter said. “People need to understand that we have legal, constitutional recourse when the Supreme Court errs as horrifically as they’ve erred in their abortion-related decisions.”

The measure last year drew hundreds of supporters to the Capitol.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said that he agrees with abolishing abortion, but the measure is “fatally flawed.”

He said the measure is more of an effort to secede from the union than it is to save lives.

Last year, then Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, refused to hear the measure.

Smalley last month resigned his post in the Senate to take a job in the private sector.

Treat appointed Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, as chair of the panel. McCortney could not be reached for comment concerning giving the bill a hearing.

Silk said McCortney doesn’t bow to the Pro Tem quite like most legislators. He is seeking a meeting with McCortney to get the bill heard.

Silk and Hunter said the effort to abolish abortion is growing. They both give some credit to several states legalizing medical marijuana, which remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, but it hasn’t been enforced.

Silk said another factor is people are seeing states like Oklahoma, which are controlled by Republicans but have made progress ending abortions.

Brett Farley is executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, the political arm for the Catholic church. Last year, they opposed the measure, a position which has not changed.

“I don’t expect the outcome to be any different than it was last year,” Farley said. “There have been no substantive changes to the bill and from everything I can tell, all positions across the board remain the same.”

He said the bill has the potential to expand abortion.

Courts have tossed out several Oklahoma laws that sought to put more regulations on abortion or make it more difficult to obtain the procedure.

Last week, Rose Day, a pro-life rally that is not affiliated with Free the States, was scheduled for Wednesday at the Capitol. It had to be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. A new date has not been determined.


FEATURED VIDEO

Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465

barbara.hoberock@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @bhoberock

Recommended for you