The Senate Health and Human Services Committee took up six bills relating to abortion Wednesday. Five passed along party lines while one attempting to classify abortion as homicide was unanimously rejected.
Anti-abortion activist sang hymns outside the committee room holding signs urging lawmakers to approve Senate Bill 495 by freshman Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain.
“We've all called abortion a murder on the campaign trail and in various committees etcetera,” Warren told his colleagues. “This act codifies it as such.”
The bill, voted down 0-10, would have prohibit the use of abortion in any circumstance. It would have asserted no conflicting federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, or court decisions, could stop the law from being enforced in Oklahoma.
“This issue that is before us today is really one of biblical proportions,” Hamilton said.
Five other bills relating to abortion passed through the committee on party line votes.
SB 918 repeals state abortion laws if Roe v. Wade is overturned. SB 584 prohibits state funding to fetal-body-parts trafficking. SB 612 outlaws abortion except when the life of the mother is at risk. SB 778 creates abortion inducing drug protocol. SB 779 creates abortion inducing drug certification program.
“This bill would prohibit abortions in the state of Oklahoma other than for the life of the mother and a medical emergency,” Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, said introducing one of his two bills.
Under Dahm’s SB 612, a person preforming an abortion other than in a situation where the mother’s life is at risk could be convicted of a felony. The mother would not be held criminally liable.
“How much time and money will we spend as a state if we pass this, in legal fees?” Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City asked.
“I can’t predict the future,” Dahm replied noting organizations have offered to pay for state legal fees in support of anti-abortion laws.
The five bills that passed are now able to be heard on the Senate floor.