Oklahoma State Senator Says Slavery Was Challenged, So Legal Abortion Should Be, Too
State Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) is pushing his “Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act,” which calls on the state to ignore federal law on abortion. And he’s using the argument that states can ignore the Supreme Court because “they were wrong about slavery.”
Abortion is “gonna be classified as a homicide because, essentially, a fertilized egg is a human life just like a 1-year-old baby is a human life,” Silk said. “So, an abortion would be considered intentionally taking a human life.”
Silk’s bill does not make exceptions for incest or rape.
He said the bill is an effort to assert the state’s sovereignty over Supreme Court rulings on the issue, and compared it to the effort to several states getting on board to abolish slavery.
“The Supreme Court also ruled that slavery, you know, that slaves were private property and they were wrong,” said Silk. “And so, the courts do need to be challenged.”
Silk is referring to the Dred Scott vs. Sanford case in 1857 when the Court affirmed the “rights” of slave owners. But, in 1868, the 14th Amendment overturned the Dred Scott decision by granting citizenship to all those born in the U.S., regardless of color.
It’s ironic that Silk chose to use a slavery analogy as he represents a state that actually destroyed Black wealth. In 1921, one of the worst race riots in U.S. history broke out and demolished much of a Tulsa neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street.”
This disparity in treatment comes from a government agency in a state that contributes little to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2017, the state of Oklahoma had a lower GDP per capita ($45,864 ) than the U.S. average ($53,128.54); and a lower GDP growth rate (0.5 percent overall, temporarily jumping up to 3.3 percent only in the 4th quarter) than the U.S. average (2.3 percent).
Silk is also the same man who pushed an anti-trans bathroom bill, said that gay couples don’t have a right to be served in every single store, and has bills that require death certificates for abortions and criminalizing doctors who perform abortions. He also pushed for Oklahoma to secede from the country (a movement that originated from southern states who wanted to preserve the institution of slavery).
Federal law supersedes state law. Federal case law in Roe vs. Wade, a 1973 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, legalized abortion. Sorry, Silk.
“This isn’t the first time that Senator Silk has demonstrated that he could use a refresher in constitutional law if he’s ever had any at all,” said Allie Shinn, deputy director for ACLU Oklahoma.
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