Following Governor Stitt’s signing of Senate Bill 612, a limited ban on abortion, we received numerous communications like these: “I am so grateful for what the governor did,” “You must be so happy that all your hard work has paid off,” “You must be dancing in the streets!” We are hopeful that the time is nearing when murder by abortion will be abolished, and should the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) reverse its Roe v. Wade opinion, and should pro-life legislation in Oklahoma subsequently save lives, we would be grateful for every life saved.
However, we are disappointed in the SCOTUS-centered strategy of the Governor and pro-life politicians, a strategy that to date has cost millions of lives. Setting aside the specific provisions of SB 612, please follow this analysis closely to understand why Governor Stitt’s SCOTUS-centered paradigm is so dangerous and so deadly.
First, listen to all the good, right, and positive things said at the signing of SB 612. Here are tremendously positive words from Governor Kevin Stitt: “We believe every life is precious.” “These issues belong to the States.” “We want to outlaw abortion in the State of Oklahoma.” “We want to make all abortions illegal in the State of Oklahoma.”
Here are the great things said by Attorney General John O’Connor: “The public safety of all Oklahomans is our top priority… My clients include…our unborn children.” “Over five thousand humans give their lives each year unwillingly to abortion with the consent of our government. We are hoping for the day that that ends.” “We know that sixty plus million Americans have been denied the right to life because of the Rose v. Wade and Casey decisions, and it is about time that we end that tragedy in our nation’s history.”
Senator Nathan Dahm said, “The United States was founded on the concept that we are endowed by our Creator with certain rights, and the very first right that is listed is the right to life… We should be about protecting life.”
Representative Jim Olsen said, “The most important function of government is to defend innocent life. This right is in our…U.S. Constitution.”
These men say that preborn humans have a right to life and that the State has a duty to protect them. But now listen to them undermine, erase, and negate that right and duty:
Governor Stitt said, “Attorney General John O’Connor and I know this bill will be challenged immediately…but we are so excited about the Supreme Court addressing this issue and giving it back to the States where it belongs.” Is he positive SCOTUS will give it back?
Attorney General O’Connor said, “I have joined twenty-five other Attorneys General from across the nation, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade…” “The States should have the rights to make that decision, and that is what we are hoping the U.S. Supreme Court does, is return it to the States and the People.” Notice he is only asking and hoping.
Representative Olsen said SB 612 would save thousands of lives “if it passes court scrutiny and if abortion law is returned to the States.” From a SCOTUS-centered paradigm, that little word “if” has the power of life and death in it.
Therefore, when Gov. Stitt said, “The most important thing is to take a stand and protect the unborn…” what he apparently meant by taking a stand is not actually taking a stand, but simply signing another piece of paper. He is not willing to use the power of his office to literally, physically, protect innocent children from murder. He will let it go on and on until SCOTUS grants him permission to step in. He says States have the right to criminalize abortion, but this is only lip service when he refuses to prove it. Ownership is not ownership if nothing is actually possessed. You can holler, “That’s my lunch money!” but the bully still has it until you take it back, and he’s not likely to hand it over just because you keep asking. This is the fundamental flaw in the Pro-life Movement’s SCOTUS-centered paradigm.
Let us change the context to help better illustrate the faulty SCOTUS-centered paradigm. Suppose SCOTUS had found a right to privately rape little girls in the Constitution. What if you knew the class bully was not stealing lunch money, but raping school girls every afternoon? Would you go day after day, year after year, before the courts begging them to reverse their opinion? Or would you engage parents, administrators, and local law enforcement to immediately stop the assaults?
Murder by abortion is not some arcane bureaucratic rule or complex interstate trade agreement that can wait for SCOTUS to finally figure it out and tell us how to proceed. Rather, we are dealing with a clear-cut, immediate matter of life and death. Governors should not wait for permission from SCOTUS to abolish the shedding of innocent blood in their sovereign States. Lip service is not enough; immediate action is the only reasonable and righteous response.
Again, if SCOTUS were to repent sometime this summer, then hallelujah; but assuming they did, notice that the SCOTUS-centered paradigm would have cost hundreds to thousands of lives while we waited for that opinion. And what if SCOTUS does not repent? In that case our Governor and other SCOTUS-centered pro-lifers have already capitulated, and the best we can hope for is yet another signing ceremony someday in the future.
The most poignant moment of the ceremony came when a reporter asked Gov. Stitt if he had a plan to address all the Texans seeking abortion in Oklahoma. The Governor quipped, “You mean have Highway Patrol arrest the Texans who come across our border?” The room exploded in laughter, but in this unscripted moment of levity, Gov. Stitt stumbled upon exactly the kind of step he ought to be taking. Murder by abortion is no joke, and the Highway Patrol are State peace officers with the authority to enforce law anywhere in the State. The governor should immediately direct them not to the border, but to abortion deathcamps to arrest Texans and anyone else who attempts to commit murder by abortion. This is the proper response to crimes like rape, assault, and murder, regardless of the opinions of nine politically appointed lawyers in black robes.
The State does, in fact, have the moral and constitutional right to immediately criminalize and abolish all abortion in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, with Gov. Stitt as chief executive, that State right is only theoretical. It is in name only. Actual ownership might come if SCOTUS hands it back—may it be so—but shame on our officials for waiting while more lives are destroyed on their watch. Ownership could be proactively grasped today through immediate State enforcement led by the Governor.
Like Naaman, we should pray for God’s grace and mercy upon us, even as we bow before a false god (2 Kings 5:17). We should ask God to bless our half-hearted, compromised efforts, and pray that SCOTUS would repent. But we should also be clear that our officials are not doing all they could or should.
Oklahomans and observers across the Union have been treated to a masquerade in which Governor Stitt and pro-life politicians tried to define leadership as a symbolic signature rather than action and the administration of justice. They made many voters feel good and victorious while babies continue to be butchered. They cried, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). They claimed to have built a defense around the preborn with freshly signed legislation, bright red roses, and hope in SCOTUS; but without enforcement, it is a weak wall of protection (Ezek. 13.10).
What fruit are we eating? Waiting for SCOTUS is not from the Tree of Life. Like the hag’s apple presented to Snow White, trusting in SCOTUS looks nice and sounds good at a pro-life signing ceremony covered by national news outlets, but it is truly the same poisonous paradigm that has reaped death by the tens of millions for half a century. The Tree of Life stands nearby with the true fruit that can save and preserve life.