The bill, introduced by Oklahoma State Senator Joe Silk, said, “A person commits murder in the first degree when that person performs an abortion.”
“No person shall perform or induce or attempt to perform or induce an abortion after conception,” the bill, S.B. 1118, said. That includes the “prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug or any other substance or device to intentionally kill an unborn human being.”
The penalty for first-degree murder in Oklahoma is the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Originally, S.B. 1118 would have required abortionists to detect a fetal heartbeat and provide stronger informed consent to women considering abortion.
In that form, SB 1118 passed the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee last month by a 6-3 vote.
But Sen. Silk changed the text of the bill to punish abortion as murder after a petition for such a bill garnered 30,000 signatures.
Ultimately, the state Senate's Republican leadership would not allow it come to the floor for a vote by all members. The deadline for the bill to have its third reading in the state Senate was March 10.
“It's still being stopped, which is very very frustrating,” Sen. Silk told KFOR-TV. “Are you really pro-life if you can actually come out and oppose this bill for no reason?”
He said his bill only stated that unborn children “deserve the same legal protection as any other living human being.”
But some state pro-life leaders disagree with the measure, saying the Senate Republicans were right to block the bill. Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, asked, “Do we want to make a statement, or do we want to make a difference?”
Though a majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices would likely overturn Sen. Silk's bill, Silk believes proposals like his will pressure the Supreme Court to review, and eventually overturn, its past abortion decisions.
“The state of Oklahoma must stop passing 'pro-life' laws that say when you can murder your child, and instead pass laws that call abortion murder,” Sen. Silk said. “The legislature must stand up and force the courts to uphold the Constitution which protects life.”
There are approximately 6,000 abortions a year in Oklahoma.