Oklahoma Bill Would Make Abortion First Degree Murder

Published March 14, 2016
Updated February 1, 2018
Published March 14, 2016
Updated February 1, 2018

Everything you need to know about the proposed Oklahoma abortion law that would make anyone who carried out the procedure guilty of murder.

Oklahoma Abortion Law

Protesters from the Abolish Abortion OK group, highly active in Oklahoma’s current pro-life movement. Image Source: Facebook

If passed, a bill currently going through the Oklahoma State Senate would make anyone who performs an abortion guilty of first degree murder.

The bill, SB 1118, states: “A person commits murder in the first degree when that person performs an abortion as defined by Section 1-745.5 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes.”

According to the bill, murder in the first degree is defined as causing the death of another human being “unlawfully and with malice aforethought.” The bill includes guns, crossbows, illegal drugs (and drugs that make a body react in a similar way to illegal drugs), and arson as other examples of the tools and methods of first degree murder.

“Life begins at conception,” State Senator Joseph Silk, who wrote the bill, said. “Those human embryos deserve every bit of protection as a one-year-old child.”

If passed, the bill would be a huge blow to Planned Parenthood centers in the state. It would also go against the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to have an abortion in the early stages of a pregnancy, as well as the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which ruled that states can’t enact restrictions that make it impossible for women to get an abortion.

The bill has garnered strong, vocal support from anti-abortion groups, but Republican leadership in the Oklahoma State Senate isn’t jumping to back the bill. The first degree murder penalty for abortions was added after the bill went through debate in the Health and Human Services Committee, and Republican senators are saying that the bill has now gone too far.

Silk’s bill adds to the laws Oklahoma passed in December of 2015 that include such restrictions as forcing a woman to have state-directed counseling to discourage her from having an abortion 24 hours before the procedure and blocking insurance from covering the procedure unless the woman’s life is in danger.

“Are you really pro-life if you can actually come out and oppose this bill for no reason?” Silk said in response to Republican leadership keeping the bill from being heard on the senate floor. “Don’t say you’re pro-life and you believe life begins at conception if you are willing to allow 6,000 lives being murdered in Oklahoma every year.”

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.