Oklahoma Senator starts anti-mask mandate petition

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A state senator started a petition this week arguing the government does not have the authority to enforce local mask mandates. But other groups say his argument sounds a lot like the kind used by pro-choice advocates.

“I think it’s pretty upsetting to a lot of folks who work in movements spaces where he also doesn’t respect private healthcare decisions, especially around abortion access,” said Nicole McAfee with ACLU of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State Senator Nathan Dahm is urging Oklahomans to sign his petition saying wearing a mask should be a personal decision.

“This is about government forced mask mandates. If you want to wear a mask in public, if you want to require in your business, in your home, your private property, you can certainly do that,” Dahm said.

The petition says “We are free people. Our body is our private property and should be treated as such.”

But not everyone is on board with the Senator’s choice of words.

ACLU of Oklahoma says the language is similar that used by pro-choice advocates.

“Senator Dahm has co-opted language from folks who say ‘our body, our choice’ on personal, private healthcare decisions to try to use that about how people engage In public settings in ways that affect broader public health and safety,”

Planned Parenthood Great Plains also sent News 4 this statement in response-

“It’s rare that anti-abortion politicians who have long-criticized the work we do would want to get on board with pro-reproductive health care messaging. However, the common thread here is plain to see: ignoring evidence-based science and the advice of medical professionals to distract, disinform, and deflect attention from an unpopular political agenda.

In the same way that abortion care is essential health care and long supported by organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, medical professionals agree masks are essential during this pandemic to protect all Oklahomans. Calls for refusing to wear face masks — which are proven to protect children and adults from this devastating yet avoidable disease and keep communities healthy — are not based in medicine or science. We must listen to the expertise of public health researchers and health care providers, not dangerous ideologies that put lives at risk.”

But Senator Dahm said it’s not the same.

“I know a lot of people are trying to make the comparison. When you talk about abortions you’re talking about a separate individuals. That unborn child has unique human DNA. It is not your body therefore it is not your choice,” Dahm said.

He said he hopes to see support from across the state.

“I think by the end of the year, especially after the November election, we’ll be having many different conversations. A lot of this is being politicized,” Dahm said.

Dahm said he’s already looking into mask legislation for next year.

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