“I Come From A Pro-Life Family and I Am The Only Pro-Choice One”: Kennedy on Senate Bill 612
(Featured photo: Pro-choice chants – Photo by internets_dairy, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
On April 12, 2022, Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 612, criminalizing abortions, with no exception for rape or incest.
This bill outlaws Oklahomans from operating abortions unless there is a medical emergency in which they need to save the life of a pregnant woman.
If a person is liable for the operation, they can face a fine of up to $100,000 or a 10-year prison sentence.
The pregnant woman would not be charged with the crime.
“‘Senate Bill 612 is the strongest pro-life legislation in the country right now, which effectively eliminates abortion in Oklahoma,’” State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow who is also one of the bill’s authors, said in a press release.
The vote was 70 to 14, with little consultation or dispute.
A rally called “Bans Off Our Bodies” was held on the steps of the Capitol by abortion supporters.
“They gaveled the bill into session and voted on it in the time it took to set up our rally,” Press officer for Planned Parenthood Olivia Cappello said, according to the Washington Post.
Fellow reproductive health groups Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice and Trust Women united as one to discuss the ongoing fight for abortion rights.
“Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma are likely counting on the Supreme Court to toss out Roe in the summer,” Mary Ziegler, professor at Harvard Law School, according to NPR.
For those who may not know, the Supreme Court ruled out Roe v. Wade in 1973, which protects pregnant women’s liability to choose whether or not they want an abortion without the government intervening.
Kayla Kennedy, a nursing student attending OCCC, shared her opinion on the change in the law.
“It’s honestly – it’s very black and white. I come from a pro-life family and I am the only pro-choice one, and they don’t understand that it’s that person’s decision; it’s not mine. I shouldn’t have an opinion on somebody else’s body.”
Kennedy works at an OB/GYN office here in Oklahoma City. For religious reasons, the doctors in her office do not perform abortions.
Texas and Oklahoma women are expected to seek out clinics in Arkansas, New Mexico or Kansas, as those states have yet to ban abortions and are still performing them.
Kennedy said all Republican states are going to make abortion completely illegal. As for New York and California, it’s a woman’s choice.
“I think it’s going to end up being this left and right situation. It’s all going to be black and white to everybody. When you grow up with a religious family, you work in health care and see it, it doesn’t seem so black and white. I think it’s going to stay that way. It’s going to turn into a left and right argument in the very near future,” Kennedy said.
As for separation of church and state, Kennedy commented on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s words while signing the legislation.
“Stitt literally said right before he signed it that God would want this. For a man that wants to uphold his religion and his beliefs and God and everything, I completely understand but there is a separation of church and state that needs to stay that way,” she said.