Oklahoma senator defends proposed bill that would charge doctors who perform abortions with first-degree murder

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OKLAHOMA CITY – “Misogynistic,” “sexist,” “deeply prejudicial” and “irresponsible” are labels given to some of the bills set to be heard by the 2017 legislature.

“They have the power right now to put an end to this. They can say that they will not entertain, not give an audience to any piece of bigoted, discriminatory or prejudicial legislation,” said Ryan Kiesel with ACLU of Oklahoma.

ACLU Oklahoma and other civil rights activists are specifically calling on lawmakers to drop their proposals.

They said those proposals are an attack on women and their right to have an abortion.

“I think, anytime that you take away a woman’s autonomy and say that she is incapable of making the most basic and fundamental decisions about herself and her reproductive health and her reproductive freedom, that’s misogynistic,” Kiesel said.

One of those bills comes from Senator Joseph Silk.

He wants doctors who perform abortions to be charged with first-degree murder.

“Just like if you killed a 1-year-old child, it’s murder. It’s first-degree murder. It should be the same as unborn child, as well,” he said.

Despite many past failed attempts to restrict abortion, Silk said it’s up to lawmakers to continue trying.

“We’re talking about the same Supreme Court that once ruled that slavery was okay, and they were wrong then. They’re wrong again,” Silk said. “And, so, it’s the lawmaker’s job to push the issue and make them overturn that.”

Pro-choice supporters we spoke with said Silk’s abortion bill is too harsh.

“I think it’s very extreme. I think it should be the mother’s choice. It’s her body. I’m very pro-choice,” said Landis Byerly.

Even pro-life supporters are saying the bill might be pushing it.

“It’s kind of a hard stance, but I am for pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. But, I’m also for women’s rights, too,” said Kevin Freels.

And, the ACLU argues, in many cases, the proposals get signed into law and then head straight to the Supreme Court.

The high court rules the measures unconstitutional and taxpayers are left holding the bill.

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