Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Senate committee passes Roe v. Wade "trigger" bill

Senate Bill 13 by Sen. Joseph Silk has been the strongest measure filed in recent years when it comes to combating and ending abortion in Oklahoma. Silk's Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act aims to return Oklahoma back to pre-Roe v. Wade statutes (that are still on the books) that made abortion illegal.

Silk and SB13 proponents argue that abortion can be attacked in the same way that states across the nation, including Oklahoma, are defying federal law on marijuana and immigration. Senate leadership disagrees, and is unwilling to even consider the possibility of pursuing that avenue -- while at the same time they are creating a regulatory framework for medical marijuana in spite of federal law otherwise.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and Senate Health & Human Services Committee Chairman Jason Smalley have shelved Silk's bill, and will not allow it to be advanced through the legislative process.

In what feels like an attempt to appease, Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat authored an alternative bill to Sen. Silk's SB13. Treat's Senate Bill 195 is a "trigger bill", and would only go into effect if Roe v. Wade gets overturned or Congress passes a constitutional amendment returning abortion law to the states.

Treat's measure is a check-the-box move in case some other state makes the first move that leads to the end of Roe v.  Wade, and it certainly seems to be an afterthought. If it was really a priority, why wasn't this authored until Silk's bill started to garner attention?

Treat's bill was brought up in committee yesterday, and passed. Here's is the press release from Sen. Treat's office on the matter:


Pro Tem Treat bill prohibiting abortion passes out of Senate Health committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved with an 11-4 vote a bill from President Pro Tempore Greg Treat that would prohibit abortion in Oklahoma when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade or if the U.S. Constitution is amended.

“Oklahoma is a pro-life state and Oklahomans have repeatedly made it clear they want their elected officials to protect the life of the unborn. Senate Bill 195 would prohibit abortion in Oklahoma, with the exception for the life of the mother, when Roe v. Wade is overturned or when the U.S. Constitution is amended. I appreciate the members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for advancing this important piece of legislation,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

Treat said there are several lawsuits challenging Roe and other federal cases legalizing abortion currently in the federal court system.

“The U.S. Supreme Court at any time could choose to revisit any one of the current lawsuits challenging Roe v. Wade. Senate Bill 195 is an important step Oklahoma should take immediately to protect the lives of the unborn when that terrible decision of the U.S. Supreme Court is overturned,” Treat said.

Abortion has been a felony in Oklahoma since 1910 but that statute has been unenforceable since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion. Since then, Oklahoma has enacted pro-life policies that have successfully saved lives and reduced abortions performed in the state.

Those regulations would be rendered unnecessary when Roe is overturned because the 1910 law then would be enforceable. By removing abortion regulations from Oklahoma statutes, Senate Bill 195 would eliminate any statutory conflicts between.

Five other states have adopted laws similar to Senate Bill 195, and other states are considering similar measures.

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