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In its race to be as anti-abortion as inhumanly and inhumanely as possible, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill last week to make the procedure virtually impossible to provide or receive in the state, and by the time many will read this column, Gov. Kevin Stitt will have signed House Bill 4327 into law. 

This bill will go into effect as soon as Stitt’s ink hits the paper. Authored by Collinsville Republican Wendi Stearman, the legislation blocks all abortions except when the pregnant woman’s life would be threatened by giving birth, and also in cases of rape and incest. It is a draconian law passed by conservatives embroiled in a race to subjugate as many women as possible. 

OPINION by George Lang

Stearman is a woman, but history is full of people who hate or subvert groups of which they are members. She either hates Oklahoma women or wants to control them, and neither is a good look. 

The reported intent of the U.S. Supreme Court majority is to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, which changes the calculus for Oklahomans. In the past, anti-abortion legislation in this state could reliably be fought at the highest court; Oklahoma is responsible for so much unconstitutional garbage legislation, the Supreme Court practically needed a spinoff court to handle them. 

But if things play out the way the court intends, there will be no more legal cases. Women and children will die needlessly, and the blood will be dripping from the hands of Oklahoma’s Republican lawmakers. 

It has almost become cliché to reference Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as shorthand for what is happening now in Oklahoma and the U.S. at large. Such callouts are a little facile and not particularly adequate, either, if you consider that real life in America is sometimes far worse than what Atwood dreamt of in her anti-philosophy. This nation enslaved Black people, imprisoned Japanese-Americans for being Japanese-Americans and regularly denies people of color and LGBTQ+ people the full social and economic rights enjoyed by cisgender white men. 

So, this movement toward abortion prohibition is in keeping with American traditions. We talk a good game about freedom and put on garish celebrations of it a few times a year, but if Roe v. Wade is repealed, the majority of Americans will not be truly free. 

Men will control women’s bodies, including women like Stearman. There is no corresponding restriction on men. This targets a specific group of people for subjugation, and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has something to say about that. 

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Now, I’m certain there are right-leaning constitutional scholars who will say I am wrong, including a few wearing robes as their uniforms for life. But at the very least, this movement toward reducing women’s rights violates the spirit of the equal protection clause. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Right now, the United States of America is experiencing the pain and injustice of the long arc.

Last Updated May 24, 2022, 1:39 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor