OKLAHOMA CITY — On Monday afternoon, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a resolution calling state officials at every level to intervene and put an end to abortion in the state.
House Resolution 1004, introduced by Rep. Chuck Strohm, (R-Jenks), explicitly defines abortion as murder and instructs local and supreme court justices not to interfere with the state’s right to clarify Oklahoma’s criminal laws regarding the murder of pre-born human beings. The resolution further declares that protecting human beings from murder is the state’s Constitutional duty, which its officials should seek to fulfill regardless of unlawful interference from the federal government.
According to Strohm, the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds in the Roe v. Wade decision and now stands in conflict with the Constitution itself.
“What this resolution does, is it establishes something that… very few states have been willing to stand up and say,” he told the Liberator. “That the states are in agreement with the Constitution and the Declaration [of Independence] and the Supreme Court is in violation of the very documents that they are sworn to uphold, and defend, and protect.”
Although there was no debate on the floor as the resolution passed by verbal vote, opponents have argued that it is a waste of time during a budget crisis.
“With ten days left to raise revenue, you’d think legislative leadership would want to be focusing on the billion dollar budget hole every hour of every day,” said Rep. Emily Virgin in a Facebook post Friday. “But instead, House Republicans have decided to place the most extreme anti-choice resolution I’ve ever seen at the top of the agenda.”
Similarly, Rep. Jason Dunnington opined on Twitter, “Budget… what budget? HR1004 was just added to the top of Monday’s legislative agenda. You know because social issue bills distract. Sad.”
Supporters of the resolution say it is a historic move.
“This signifies a shift in the way we’re going to go about doing away with the murder of innocent children,” said John Michener of the Oklahoma Conservative PAC. “We heard talking points today from the House floor… that have never been said in 44 years. We heard a representative of the people of Oklahoma say that abortion is the murder of innocent children and that it must stop immediately.”
“I think it had a pretty positive reception,” said Majority Floor Leader Rep. Jon Echols. “The House of Representatives spoke loud and clear. I think they’re with the majority of the state of Oklahoma, frankly, but they’re also on the side of right.”
Supporters said the next step toward the abolition of abortion will be enforcing the resolution.
“Obviously it’s a statement, but we hope more and more states will say this,” Echols said. “This is a similar tack that other states have taken with other federalized issues. You see an argument on the left with the legalization of marijuana. That’s still federally illegal, but states are doing it. They’re finding ways to do it, and that’s the next step.”
Michener said the next step will be electing a governor who will use his or her authority to enforce the resolution and put a stop to the murder of the preborn.
Former state representative Dan Fisher agreed. “In 2018 we’re going to have a new governor,” he said. “And the governor had better enforce the will of the people as expressed in this resolution today.”
Fisher, who pastors Liberty Church in Yukon, added that it is the responsibility of Oklahoma citizens to raise their voices to demand that the abolition of abortion. “It’s also the job of the people to speak even more loudly than they did today. The people need to stop letting someone else do their work for them.”
According to Strohm, this step would not be necessary if American Christians had responded rightly to the Roe v. Wade decision by refusing to accept the murder of innocent children. “In 1973, when the murder of the unborn was forced on the land, the churches across our land should have risen up and said ‘no!’,” he said. “Our churches should have been filled and marching on Washington, D.C.”
Strohm said he hopes this resolution will encourage churches and legislators to do the right thing and begin to actively oppose abortion as murder.
Representatives of the state abolitionist group Abolish Abortion Oklahoma noted that while the resolution is a step in the right direction, it remains little more than a political gesture until state officials actually move to outlaw abortion as murder through legislative and executive action.
While it remains to be seen whether lawmakers and executives will take action to enforce HR 1004, its passage marks a shift away from seeking to regulate abortion as healthcare toward seeking its abolition as murder.