OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State legislators have been back at the Capitol for less than a week and abortion laws are already front and center.
With the addition of Amy Coney Barret late last year, the US Supreme Court is now decidedly conservative. Some lawmakers at the Oklahoma State Capitol are pushing through abortion bills that they hope could make it to Washington.
Outside of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chamber, supporters of a bill to abolish abortion made their voice heard as senators debated the bill.
“Do you trust women to make their own medical decisions?” asked Sen. Carrie Hicks of Oklahoma City.
“Absolutely, but murder is not a medical decision, it’s a crime,” said Sen. Warren Hamilton of McCurtain.
On Monday, Senator Hamilton presented Senate Bill 495 that was filed last year but was never heard in committee.
“It’s not a pro-life bill. It’s a justice bill. It’s saying the laws against murder should be applied to pre-born humans,” said T. Russell Hunter of Free the States.
SB 495 was unanimously voted down by the Republican-lead Health and Human Services Committee.
However, that same committee voted to pass 5 other bills that limit abortions in the state.
“The very people that are passing pro-life bills are voting against abolition bills,” said Hunter.
After failing to pass the committee, supporters of SB 495 accused Senate Republicans of hearing the bill early to sidestep debate and citizen support, as well as calling those on the committee “pro-abortion.”
“That’s false. I promise you I am anti-abortion,” said Sen. Greg McCortney of Ada, head of the Health and Human Services Committee.
Emotions of protestors ran so high after the meeting, McCortney and his fellow committee members were escorted by State Troopers from the meeting and through the Capitol hallways.
McCortney says he pushed the abortion laws early because they are familiar to his fellow lawmakers.
He says he voted ‘yes’ on one bill specifically that would make abortion illegal- except in cases when the mother’s life is in danger- because it has the best chance of making to Washington.
“If we are smart and run the right legislation to get a bill heard and get a bill before the Supreme Court, that could really change the outlook on abortion across the nation,” said McCortney.
“It’s another attempt by the Oklahoma legislature to control the bodies of Oklahomans,” said Tamya Cox-Toure of ACLU of Oklahoma.
The head of ACLU Oklahoma says so far these bills have not made it out of the state.
“Our Oklahoma State Supreme Court has been firm on this decision that the right belongs to individual person,” said Cox-Toure.
The 5 bills approved by the committee will move on and can be debated on the Senate floor.
Supporters of the failed 495 bill tell KFOR they will be back next week for the already scheduled Abolish Abortion day.