Oklahoma House declares abortion to be "murder," just because

AP

The Oklahoma House of Representatives defied the United States Supreme Court Monday, passing a resolution that characterized abortion as "murder" and suggesting that decisions like Roe v. Wade infringed upon "God's law." Separation of church and state be damned!

House Resolution 1004 was subject to a voice vote, according to Tulsa World, freed from discussion by representatives. Only Rep. Chuck Strohm, who introduced the measure, got to speak, and boy did he seize his moment. 

In "forcing the murder of unborn children on our society," he said, the Supreme Court had broken "every act of decency and law." 

Oklahoma Rep. Chuck Strohm has some thoughts about the way SCOTUS is doing its job.Source: Sue Ogrocki/AP
Oklahoma Rep. Chuck Strohm has some thoughts about the way SCOTUS is doing its job.  Sue Ogrocki/AP

Citing the Declaration of Independence as granting every U.S. citizen "the unalienable right to life," Strohm's resolution, meanwhile, directs "every public official in Oklahoma to exercise their authority to stop murder of unborn children by abortion" and "Oklahoma's judges not to interfere with Legislature's right to clarify Oklahoma criminal law." In short, the Supreme Court has no business making laws for the individual states. 

The measure is a simple resolution — it "expresses the opinion or will of one house only," according to the Oklahoma state senate, and does not carry the force of law. It does represent another effort to chip away at the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade — that's generally the point of legislation that attempts to further restrict the abortion regulations the Supreme Court already outlined in its 1973 decision.

Oklahoma has passed a number of laws that serve precisely that purpose. Whereas the Supreme Court ruled that abortion must remain legal up until viability, around 24 weeks, Oklahoma is one of many states that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks (unless the patient's life is endangered). It also obligates women to wait 72 hours between a mandatory counseling appointment and procedure. Recently, an Oklahoma Rep. tried and failed to get anti-abortion placards posted in public restrooms, and another proposed that women seeking abortion should first get the father's permission, an act that defies two separate Supreme Court rulings. That particular lawmaker later explained that women are "hosts" who maybe need more legislation in order to treat their wombs responsibly. 

All of which is to say, the abortion-as-murder resolutions isn't particularly surprising, context considered.