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OKLAHOMA CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a resolution declaring that abortion is the murder of the unborn. The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed HR1004 Monday defining abortion as murder and declaring that the U.S. Supreme Court has overstepped its jurisdiction when it legalized abortion in 1973.
Referring to Roe v. Wade and other abortion laws, the bill's author, Chuck Strohm said that "the Supreme Court is in violation of the very documents that they are sworn to uphold, and defend and protect."
Church Militant spoke with John Michener of Oklahomans United for Life, who disagrees with media reports claiming this law is merely symbolic:
[T]his Resolution is not a new law, nor is it simply symbolic. Rather, it is an argument by the people's representatives that abortion is already against the law. Abortion violates the highest laws of the land, which are natural laws laid out in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, executives are directed to ignore unlawful court opinions and enforce the law.
The resolution is seeking to return to the pre-Roe regime, giving states jurisdiction over abortion rather than the federal government. Comparing it to states' recent moves to allow marijuana use, Majority Floor Leader John Echols said, "[Y]ou 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."
The Oklahoma resolution affirms the right of the state to make and enforce its own criminal code with respect to the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, citing that procuring or administering a non-life-saving abortion in Oklahoma is already a criminal offense.
It goes on to require "every public official in Oklahoma ... to stop the murder of innocent unborn children by abortion" and directs judges not to interfere with legislation on criminalizing abortion.
After passage of the bill, Strohm was allowed a few moments to speak. He began by asking "what happens when a court, and not just any court but the highest court in the land, violates the most basic law known to mankind, the right to life?" Citing the Fourteenth Amendment's right to due process, he declared, "[N]o one, not a doctor, not a father or a mother, has rights that allow them to murder an unborn child."
Strohm explained that by the Supreme Court "forcing the murder of unborn children on our society," it broke "every act of decency and law" and violated the documents the nation was founded upon.
Strohm laments Christians' lack of action in the past, resulting in the legal action to be taken in today's times. "[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!' Our churches should have been filled and marching on Washington, D.C."
He wants churches and legislators to be inspired by this legislation to actively oppose abortion as murder.
Michener told Church Militant, "[T]he Resolution is intended to be a demand that current executives begin enforcing the laws against abortion, which those executives have sworn to uphold. They have the moral duty and the legal authority to immediately protect innocent, unborn children from murder by abortion."
After passage of the resolution, Michener said, "[T]his signifies a shift in the way we're going to go about doing away with the murder of innocent children. We heard talking points today from the House floor ... that have never been said in 44 years."
Detractors of the resolution claim the state's budget deficit was more pressing and that this bill was "a waste of time."
Lawmakers agree that the next step would be to have a governor willing to enforce the bill and abolish abortion. "If current executives do not respond, then we hope the resolution will embolden fresh candidates to run for executive positions such as sheriff, district attorney, attorney general and especially governor in 2018," Michener told Church Militant.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, 18 other states have "trigger laws" that would immediately criminalize abortion.