A motion was filed in the Oklahoma State Senate on Wednesday to bring the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act (SB13) to the Senate floor. SB13 would treat Roe v. Wade as the legal nullity it is and abolish abortion in the state. The motion was filed by Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow), the author of the bill. Immediately, Majority Floor Leader Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) motioned to table (and thereby kill) Silk’s motion.
Directly prior to Silk’s motion being announced, there was a roughly 45-minute break in Senate deliberation as David roamed the Senate floor whipping votes for her motion to kill the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act. Her efforts succeeded. The final vote on David’s motion to table was 38 “yeas” and four “nays,” with five Senators abstaining. Of the 38 who voted to kill SB13, 30 were Republicans – all of whom are pro-life.
Oklahoma Senate leaders are notoriously tyrannical in their leadership of the Republican caucus. Last year, Silk was stripped of his Vice Chairmanship on a committee and had his bills blackballed as a result of his campaigning for SB13.
“I have served in the U.S. Coast Guard under many different commands, held many different occupations, run a business and served in the State Senate under three different leadership teams and have never seen a more authoritarian leadership than we currently have,” Silk wrote in a statement last year.
Ever since, Senators have been afraid to support SB13 for fear of being punished by David and by Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City). Whether David vocally delivered the threat of punishment for anyone who supported SB13 as she whipped votes, it was an unspoken reality of which all of them were well aware. An example of the pressure exerted by David and Treat is the fact that Senators David Bullard (R-Durant) and Mark Allen (R-Spiro) – both former supporters of SB13 – were pressured into not only neutrality on abolishing abortion but actively voted to keep abortion legal.
In the Oklahoma Senate, there are two people with tyrannical power, a large group of puppets, and a small group that can be counted on one hand who have both a conscience and the will to fight for what’s right. Only Senators Silk, Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), Chris Kidd (R-Waurika), and Roland Pederson (R-Burlington) stood up to Treat and David to support abortion’s abolition. The rest either don’t care about establishing justice for preborn children or lack the courage to stand up to Treat and David.
In the weeks leading up to Silk’s motion, SB13 had been denied a hearing in the Senate HHS Committee by Sen. Greg McCortney, hence the motion for it to be brought directly to the Senate floor.
The day before the vote, a petition signed by Oklahoma pastors exhorted pro-life Senators to hear SB13. 87 signatures were delivered and 13 more that came in over night were delivered the morning of the vote. These pastors aren’t just joining the fight. Since SB13 was killed last year, abolition has quickly become the rallying cry of Oklahoma’s churches. Both the Oklahoma Baptists (Southern Baptist Convention) and Oklahoma Free Will Baptists passed resolutions in the past year demanding the abolition of abortion and a rejection of pro-life compromise. The Free Will Baptist resolution reads:
WHEREAS, God’s Word clearly declares that all human life is a sacred gift from our sovereign God and that His Law is supreme over mankind and man’s law, and therefore that all abortion is wrong and usurps God’s sovereignty; and,
WHEREAS, since Roe v. Wade, 60 million innocent unborn babies have been legally murdered in the United States and approximately 5,000 innocent unborn babies are legally murdered in Oklahoma every year; and,
WHEREAS, government is not instituted to grant rights but to protect our unalienable, God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as recognized in the Declaration of Independence and Article 2, Section 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution; and,
WHEREAS, traditional pro-life laws do nothing to abolish abortion and, in fact, merely establish regulatory guidelines for how to obtain a legal abortion and, in so doing, simply facilitate the murder of innocent unborn children; and,
WHEREAS, Roe v. Wade will never be overturned unless a state enacts a law abolishing human abortion; therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Oklahoma Association of Free Will Baptists, call upon the Legislature, Governor, and Attorney General of Oklahoma to pass, sign, and enforce legislation abolishing the practice of human abortion at all gestational stages and for all reasons in Oklahoma.
On top of the pastors and churches, a rally was held on February 11 to support SB13. Between two-and-three thousand people were in attendance. The Oklahoma Republican Party platform was also amended last year to call for SB13 to be given a full vote on the Senate floor.
All of this was ignored as the Oklahoma State Senate killed the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act and ensured that abortion remains legal in the state for at least another year. That’s a death sentence for roughly 5,000 babies.
The good news is that, for the first time, the Senators are on record. Many of the pro-life Senators who voted to keep abortion legal on Wednesday will face primary challenges from abolitionist candidates this spring. Worse than that, every one of them will stand before God one day and answer for what they did on March 11, 2020.