A Southern Baptist senator in Oklahoma is pushing back after the General Baptist Convention of Oklahoma issued an open letter this week expressing “concerns” over a bill that he proposed that would outlaw abortion in the state, remarking that while the entity is opposed to abortion, it “cannot in good conscience get behind [the legislation] as it is proposed.”
As previously reported, the “Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act,” Senate Bill 13, filed by Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, states that the definition of a human being includes the unborn, and “from the moment of fertilization.”
Therefore, under existing homicide statutes, which define the crime as “the killing of one human being by another,” the unborn would be equally protected, and specifically regarding “acts which cause the death of an unborn child committed during an abortion.”
“Any federal statute, regulation, executive order or court decision which purports to supersede, stay or overrule this [bill] is in violation of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma and the Constitution of the United States of America and is therefore void,” the bill also declares.
Silk had told reporters in November that he believes state sovereignty needs to be asserted in the face of Roe v. Wade, just like when a number of states sought to abolish slavery despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford affirming the “rights” of slave owners.
“The Supreme Court also ruled that slaves were private property and they were wrong. And so, the courts do need to be challenged,” Silk said. “The goal is to say we are a sovereign state and choose to abolish abortion.”
On Thursday, the General Baptist Convention of Oklahoma issued an open letter via The Baptist Messenger explaining why it does not support the legislation.
The letter, signed by President Blake Gideon, Treasurer Hance Dilbeck, and Baptist Messenger Editor Brian Hobbs, outlines that while the Convention opposes abortion—and is working toward “even more aggressively toward the goal of ending abortion in Oklahoma”—it has “concerns” that the legislation will do more harm than good.
“Credible expert legal/policy analysis indicates SB 13 will be invalidated immediately by the courts, if it passes at all, and we cannot save lives with legislation that never goes into effect,” the three wrote.
They also stated that the bill “unnecessarily and purposely repeals hard-earned pro-life laws” in the state, such as parental notification requirements and bans on partial birth and dismemberment abortions. The Convention additionally expressed objection that the measure “even goes so far” as to repeal laws allowing exceptions for the life of the mother.
“We recently held discussions with the bill’s author, asking these concerns to be taken into consideration. In the meantime, we cannot in good conscience get behind SB 13 as it is proposed,” the letter outlined. “There are more proven and plausible life-saving policies Oklahoma could enact en route to ending the tragic practice of abortion, while simultaneously offering support and help for abortion-vulnerable mothers.”
On Friday, Sen. Silk released a letter of his own, pushing back against the assertions of the Baptist Convention, stating that as a Southern Baptist himself, he was “appalled” by the reasoning put forward.
He noted that SB 13 specifically says that the state will ignore the courts should it receive an adverse ruling, as the state “does not need permission from the courts to protect innocent children from murder.” Silk further outlined that even if the state waited on Roe v. Wade to be overturned, “abortion would still be legal in Oklahoma until we repeal all the [so-called] ‘pro-life’ laws and criminalize abortion.”
“We are either an abortion-free state or a state that simply regulates abortion,” Silk declared. “The ‘pro-life’ legislation that the BGCO is so proud of and protective of is the very legislation that is keeping abortion legal in Oklahoma.”
“The only way to end abortion is to abolish it and stop with the failed incremental/regulation policies,” he wrote. “The BGCO may be referring to other pro-life legislation that they have enacted over the years that, instead of ending abortion, has resulted in approximately 5,000 ‘legal abortions’ that were performed in Oklahoma last year.”
SBC Pastors discuss SB13 and respond to the 2/21 Letter from Baptist General Convention of OK leadership.
Posted by Christ-Centered Churches on Saturday, February 23, 2019
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