Anti-SB13 Campaigners Aren’t Ignorant. They’re Trying to Deceive You.

James SilbermanPro-Life Failures, SB13

For those who don’t know me, I come from a pro-life background. When I saw an abortion victim for the first time five years ago, I knew I had to do something about it. In the following years, I was a part of a number of pro-life organizations including Students for Life, the Family Policy Institute of Washington, Created Equal, and others. As someone who spent years inside prominent pro-life organizations, I can tell you that there are many solid, God-fearing men and women in the pro-life movement. They’re just not thinking about the issue rightly. Not all pro-lifers are corrupt and actively work against the abolition of abortion.

But some do.

A recently published website, abolitiontruth.org, exemplifies the blatant corruption of many of the leaders of the pro-life movement. The website’s publishers do not identify themselves, likely so that they don’t have to answer for their dishonesty. Abolitiontruth.org contains eight huge deceptions about SB13 and about the Abolitionist Movement.

Deception #1: SB13 is severable

Abolitiontruth.org says: “As already mentioned, despite the bill’s language concerning severability of its provisions, a court could easily choose to declare the law unconstitutional on its face but leave the repealers intact. Such a decision would remove all existing regulations on abortion, including those requiring parental notification and banning partial-birth abortion… The result of such an action by the court would mean a defacto blank slate for the abortion industry in our state. Ultimately, in such a scenario, the effect of the bill would be precisely the opposite of what it is intended to accomplish.”

In reality, Section 34 of SB13 reads: “The provisions, words, phrases, and clauses of this act are declared to be inseverable.” Your average pro-life person could be forgiven for not knowing that SB13 had an inseverability clause or for not knowing what an inseverability clause is. But the people making this claim are politicians and lobbyists. They know what an inseverability clause is and they know that SB13 has one. Tony Lauinger, the Vice President of National Right to Life and the President of Oklahomans for Life, and Allen County Right to Life (IN), and the leaders of Oklahoma Baptists have all publicly made this claim.

  • Video of Lauinger making this claim can be found here.
  • An article where Allen County Right to Life made the claim as part of their campaign to kill the Indiana Protection at Conception Act can be found here.
  • A video of a group of Southern Baptist pastors refuting the Oklahoma Baptist leaders who made the claim can be found here.

They know they’re lying and they continue to do it, banking on the hope that they can reach more people with the lie than abolitionists can reach with the truth.

But here’s the real kicker. Let’s say the people making this claim actually believed what they’re saying. Say they actually believed that the courts might ignore an inseverability clause and ignore the clear intent of the law they’re interpreting and sever the bill anyway – if they actually believe that the courts are that thoroughly corrupt – then that’s all the more reason to support SB13 which would stand up to the corrupt courts and strip from the courts their self-appointed authority to legalize the murder of preborn human beings.

Deception #2: SB13 wouldn’t save a single life

The website says: “SB13 would do nothing immediately and almost certainly nothing in the short term to end abortion altogether or to prevent a single incident of abortion. An immediate injunction on the law would guarantee that it could not be implemented while months of legal process played out either in the state or federal judicial system.”

This one’s a partial lie. Language from SB13 specifies that the bill is to be enforced regardless of any opinion of a court that abortion should remain legal:

Any federal statute, regulation, executive order or court decision which purports to supersede, stay or overrule this Act is in violation of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma and the Constitution of the United States of America and is therefore void.

It’s true that SB13 wouldn’t save any lives if our state government, and specifically Governor Stitt and the State executive branch, fail to do what SB13, the United States Constitution, and the Oklahoma Constitution specifies that they are to do. If they buckle to the whim of the court rather than treating court opinions that child sacrifice should be legal as void and of no effect, then SB13 is just a piece of paper that saves no one.

But if Governor Stitt takes seriously his obligation before God and his oath to the US and Oklahoma Constitutions; if he takes seriously his obligation to uphold justice for all and provide all within his jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, then he and the rest of the executive branch of the State of Oklahoma will enforce SB13 after its passage and abortion will be totally and immediately abolished.

Deception #3: Pro-life incrementalism is saving 90+ percent of babies

The website’s dropdown menu includes an article defending incrementalism written by Scott Klusendorf, probably the most popular pro-life intellectual. Klusendorf sets up a scenario where a politician has a chance to save 97 percent of the victims of sex slavery:

This year, Ahmad has just enough votes to do more — much more. He knows that the new prime minister, under pressure from Western nations, will support a bill protecting nationals from sex slavery, thus saving 97 percent of young girls from the barbaric practice. Given the current reality that no girls — nationals or nonnationals — are protected, Ahmad is delighted at the government’s compromise. But there is no time to lose. Next month, 20,000 young girls will be up for public auction in the nation’s capital. If Ahmad’s bill passes before then, 19,400 of them will walk away free.

Only they didn’t. On the eve of the vote, two fellow voters who shared Ahmad’s anti-slavery convictions pulled their support for the bill on grounds that it allows exceptions and did not immediately abolish all sex slavery. They said they could not, in good faith, decide which girls are enslaved and which are not. Unlike Ahmad, they were not going to compromise their principles by regulating sex slavery. They would vote for Ahmad’s bill only if it abolished the practice totally and immediately.

In Klusendorf’s situation, Ahmad is the pro-life incrementalist and the two fellow voters who oppose the bill are the abolitionists. Klusendorf is painting a picture where pro-life politicians and pro-life laws are saving 97 percent of preborn babies who might be aborted and that those pesky abolitionists are preventing all those babies from being saved.

The reality of the situation is this: Pro-life leaders are passing bills which save zero or maybe one percent of the preborn humans who would be killed. They pass laws saying “Look at this ultrasound and then you can murder your baby.” “Wait 72 hours after the initial appointment and then you can murder your baby.” “Notify your parent or guardian and then you can murder your baby.”And not only do they focus on these weak, “and then you can murder your baby” laws, they actively oppose bills that would abolish abortion.

So you’ve got the pro-life leaders passing weak sauce bills which maybe reduce abortion by one percent and they call that winning. And then you’ve got abolitionists saying, “Maybe we should actually call abortion murder and treat it like murder with the bills we put forward.” Then the pro-life leaders kill those bills that would totally and immediately abolish abortion. That’s the real situation. Klusendorf knows he can’t defend that so he makes up a thought experiment that bears no semblance to the reality.

Later in the article, Klusendorf points to the Heartbeat Bills which establish that life begins at a heartbeat and to the Alabama Human Life Protection Act which defines life as beginning at conception as examples of better incremental bills which save a percentage of babies closer to 97 percent. The problem is that these bills actually don’t save any babies. All of these bills submit fully to the supreme court, and the federal courts have reaffirmed their disagreement with the idea that the states can ban abortion in the first or second trimester 37 times over. There’s little-to-no chance the courts are not going to allow those bills to stand and everybody knows it. Planned Parenthood broke ground on a new mega facility in Birmingham shortly after the passage of the Alabama abortion “ban” Klusendorf points to.

The only feasible path to establishing justice for preborn human beings is to actually fight against the idea that these rogue courts had any authority to legalize mass murder in the first place… which brings us to the next deception.

Deception #4: Pro-life politicians wish they had the power to abolish abortion, but they don’t

Another one of the articles in the website’s dropdown menu is a piece written by Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Carter writes: “Where the difference lies [between abolitionists and incrementalists] is in the question of what we should do now since we do not have the power to immediately end abortion.”

Klusendorf echoes Carter on this point: “[Abolitionists assume] that pro-lifers have the power to immediately end abortion but simply won’t. This is simply not true. Pro-life advocates do not have the power to say which children live and which ones die. The federal courts did that when they ruled that no unborn children have a right to life.”

This is another half-truth. The courts did, of course, rule that no unborn child has the right to life. But that doesn’t mean that pro-life lobbyists and politicians are unable to abolish abortion immediately. The courts have no rightful authority to legalize the murder of a class of human beings. An honest reading of Article VI of the US Constitution clearly contradicts the fiction of judicial supremacy that so many, including the leaders of the pro-life movement, ascribe to.

Article VI establishes that the Constitution is the law of the land. Any federal action, including an opinion of the supreme court, which is not pursuant to the Constitution is not binding on the other branches or on the states. Thomas Jefferson addressed this exact topic in an 1820 letter written to Charles Jarvis.

“You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps…. Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”

What Jefferson warned of is exactly what we have; a single tribunal of nine, unaccountable politically connected lawyers in black robes who ignore the Constitution and force all 50 states to allow the mass murder of preborn human beings. It’s despotic and it’s evil and we’re guilty of allowing it to go on for this long. Not only do we have a Constitutional and moral right to stand against it by immediately abolishing abortion, we have a Constitutional and moral obligation to stand against it by immediately abolishing abortion.

But even more problematic than the Constitutional illiteracy of Klusendorf’s argument is its Biblical illiteracy. Klusendorf argues that the supreme court is owed our unconditional submission up to and including obedience to the supreme court’s opinion that mass murder should be legal in every state. This is the exact opposite of what God’s word tells us to do when a governing authority orders us to do something which is in flagrant contradiction to what God demands of us.

In this case, the supreme court commanded us to allow legalized child sacrifice in our state whereas God’s word demands that we establish justice for the weak and the fatherless (Isaiah 1:12-17, Isaiah 10:1, Amos 5:15-24, Psalm 82:3). Acts 5:17-29 teaches us that when the governing authorities force us to choose between obedience to their wicked decree or obedience to God, we are to obey God rather than man. The pro-life establishment, by their insistence on unconditional submission to Roe v Wade, shows that in their hearts, they fear man more than they fear God. To abolish abortion in Oklahoma, we must stop worrying about what the supreme court will do to us if we abolish the mass murder of preborn human beings and start worrying about what God will do to us if we don’t.

Ironically, Klusendorf’s article, which was published at Desiring God, is directly and fiercely rebuked by another Desiring God article: “Lay Aside the Fear of Man” written by Jon Bloom in 2016. An excerpt:

The person(s) to whom we ascribe most authority — to define who we are, what we’re worth, what we should do, and how we should do it — is the person(s) we fear the most, because it is the person(s) whose approval we want most. God designed us this way, for it reveals who and what our heart loves…

When we feel this fear, it can stir up emotional fog and psychological complexity. But we cut through to the heart of things if we remember a simple biblical truth: we obey the one we fear. The person(s) whose reward of approval we desire most — whose curse of disapproval we most fear to receive — is the person(s) we will obey, our functional god…

Courageously confront your fear of man. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Obedience calls for courage. Courage is not the absence of the emotion of fear, but the resolve to obey despite what we feel. Exercise your trust in God by stepping out in obedience. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Klusendorf and the pro-life leaders who made abolitiontruth.org, as well as most pro-life leaders generally, ascribe ultimate and unassailable authority to the supreme court. As Bloom points out, the person(s) to whom we ascribe the most authority is our functional god. Klusendorf and abolitiontruth.org are not simply displaying Constitutional ignorance. They’re displaying idolatry.

In a state like Oklahoma, it’s not NARAL and Planned Parenthood preventing abortion from being abolished. It’s the pro-life leaders. Oklahoma is as pro-life as it gets. Republicans outnumber democrats 39-9 in the State Senate and 76-25 in the State House. Even these supermajorities don’t express the full extent of pro-life political power in Oklahoma because even many of this state’s Democrats are pro-life. Pro-life bills pass nearly unanimously. The 20-week ban, for instance, passed in the Oklahoma State House 94-2. Whatever the pro-life politicians want to be the law in Oklahoma is the law in Oklahoma. Despite what Klusendorf seems to wants you to  believe, the pro-life politicians and lobbyists in Oklahoma are the ones with the power to abolish abortion or to allow it. They simply are choosing to allow it.

Deception #5: SB13 requires the Oklahoma government to ignore the Oklahoma Constitution

AbolitionTruth.org says: “[SB13] is unworkable at the start because its language requires that the state government ignore both itself and its own source of authority. In short, it is self-defeating. Any legislative measure signed into law relies on the Oklahoma Constitution for its authority and execution. If any law requires the nullification of that authority and, worse, mandates that the executive branch ignore the authority vested in a co-equal branch, namely the state court, the very authority that gives effect to the law has been deemed invalid.”

The Oklahoma pro-life leaders who created this website want the people of Oklahoma to believe that Oklahoma politicians have their hands tied because the Oklahoma Constitution and United States Constitution force them to allow abortion in our state. If they can convince you of that, then they can resume passing weak abortion regulations and be given roses for it. But it’s not true. Both the Oklahoma and United States Constitutions guarantee the right to life. The supreme court simply chose to ignore the Constitution. When the court does this, and especially when they do it for the purpose of inventing a right to murder a class of human beings, we must uphold the constitution by ignoring the court.

The assertion that the pro-life politicians’ hands are tied by the Oklahoma Constitution is pure fiction, and ironically, they spread this fiction because they’re afraid to stand against the courts by standing firm on the what the US and Oklahoma Constitutions actually say – that the right to life and equal protection of the laws for all are guaranteed and unalienable. What the pro-life politicians of Oklahoma should do, and what SB13 mandates, is that they actually take their oath to US and Oklahoma Constitutions seriously and uphold the right to life and equal justice for all.

Deception #6: Nullification is the legacy of slavery supporters

Abolitiontruth.org says: “The debate over nullification has its roots in the lead-up to the Civil War in which sentiments were voiced in support of state sovereignty, particularly in defense of a ‘right to slavery.'”

Not only is it a lie that nullification was a tactic of the pro-slavery lobby, nullification was supported and put into practice by the 18th century abolitionists.

On the evening of March 10th, 1854, two wagons carrying seven men approached a cabin in Racine, WI. Inhabiting the cabin was escaped slave Joshua Glover and the men were federal agents. By the authority of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and a warrant signed by a federal judge, the men burst into Glover’s home, beat him, arrested him, and threw him on a wagon headed for the Milwaukee County Jail.

Upon hearing of the arrest, Racine County Sheriff Timothy Morris tracked down one of the wagons, intending to save Glover. Unfortunately, it was the decoy wagon. The one containing Glover successfully made the six-hour journey from Racine to Milwaukee. Still, Sheriff Morris arrested the federal agents on suspicion of kidnapping, assault, and battery.

Around 9 a.m. the next morning, Milwaukee newspaper editor and abolitionist Sherman Booth received a telegram from Racine explaining the situation. Booth saddled his horse and rode through the city exhorting everyone within shouting distance to gather outside Milwaukee’s courthouse square at 2 p.m. More than 5,000 showed up to protest.

There, amid raucous speeches and chanting, lawyer Byron Paine authored a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Glover which was signed by a county judge and sent to federal authorities. Unimpressed, a federal judge instructed the federal agents in Milwaukee to ignore the writ. By 5 p.m., Milwaukee abolitionists were joined by Sheriff Morris and roughly 100 men who had traveled 30 miles by boat up Lake Michigan from Racine. Within an hour of the Racine delegation’s arrival, the gathering of abolitionists stormed the jail with wooden beams and pick axes, successfully breaking Glover out.

They whisked Glover onto a carriage en route for the Underground Railroad as federal marshals looked on, impotent to do a thing about it. As the carriage passed the massive, cheering crowds, Glover, still bruised and bloody from his earlier beatings, tipped his hat and cried out “Glory, Hallelujah!” Soon after, the Underground Railroad guided Glover into Canada where he lived the rest of his life in freedom.

Booth, the newspaper editor who rallied abolitionists to the jailhouse, was criminally charged for his violation of the federal Fugitive Slave Act. Paine, the author of the habeas corpus writ, defended Booth in court by arguing the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional and therefore void. The State Supreme Court agreed and acquitted Booth. The Fugitive Slave Act had been nullified in Wisconsin.

Under similar conditions, William “Jerry” Henry was broken out of custody in Syracuse by about 2,500 abolitionists in 1851. 26 were tried for helping Jerry escape, and only one convicted. The other 25 were acquitted due to jury nullification being employed against federal law.

In 1850, Vermont passed the Habeas Corpus Act which required the state to “use all lawful means to protect, defend, and procure to be discharged” anyone who’d been “arrested or claimed as a fugitive slave in Vermont.” This explicitly nullified the Fugitive Slave Act which mandated escapees be brought back to their “owners” without trial. While being less confrontational than their compatriots in Milwaukee and Syracuse, Vermont abolitionists knew that local and state judges and juries would employ jury nullification against the Fugitive Slave Act freeing the captured slaves in the vast majority of cases. A few years later, Michigan passed the Personal Freedom Act, a nearly identical law.

Massachusetts’ Personal Liberty Act of 1855 made enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act a crime punishable by a sentence of up to five years. Further, it mandated impeachment for any state official who aided slave-catchers and disbarred all attorneys assisting in the return of slaves to their “owners.”

Abolitionist and famous poet John Greenleaf Whittier was among the statesmen of the pro-nullification movement. “Since the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law by Congress, I find myself in a position with respect to it, which I fear my fellow citizens generally are not prepared to justify,” Whittier wrote. “So far as that law is concerned, I am a nullifier.” Abolitionist leader William Lloyd Garrison concurred in an article for The Liberator: “The nullification advocated by Mr Whittier…is loyalty to goodness.”

Slave owners and supporters, on the other hand, despised nullification. The New Orleans Bee, for instance, published a preemptive attack on Vermont’s rejection of federal law: “Fortunately, too, her position is such that she will probably never have occasion to attempt to put into practice her vile theories of nullification. If she ever should, we rely on the President, and on the people of Vermont themselves to bring the State back to reason, and to prove that ‘nullification’ north or south of the Potomac will be put down at all hazards.”

South Carolina Senator and later Confederate President Jefferson Davis made clear his disdain for nullification on numerous occasions. During his US Senate farewell address, Davis explained that the severity of his hatred for nullification precluded him from coexisting in a union with states which practiced it:

Nullification and secession, so often confounded, are indeed, antagonistic principles. Nullification is a remedy which it is sought to apply within the Union, and against the agent of the States. It is only to be justified when the agent has violated his constitutional obligations…but, when the States themselves and when the people of the States have so acted as to convince us that they will not regard our constitutional rights, then, and then for the first time, arises the doctrine of secession in its practical application.

Many years later in his 1881 book The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Davis bemoaned the effect nullification had on the practice of slave catching.

“[State legislatures] made use of the powers and opportunities of the offices held under its sanctions to nullify its obligations and neutralize its guarantees. The halls of Congress afforded the vantage ground from which assaults were made upon these guarantees. The legislatures of various Northern states enacted laws to hinder the execution of the provisions made for the rendition of fugitives from service; state officials lent their aid to the work of thwarting them; city mobs assailed the offices engaged in the duty of enforcing them.”

In the years preceding slavery’s abolition, nullification was practiced exclusively by abolitionists to the acute dismay of the slave states. To oppose nullification in the context of American history is to side with the slavers. Unfortunately, a rewriting of history by people like the publishers of Abolitiontruth.org has cut many Americans off from the knowledge of these abolitionists nullifiers who acted heroically in defiance of the despotic and evil federal laws and supreme court opinions.

Consequently, even most conservative legislators and judges refuse to entertain the idea of nullification. Oklahoma State Senate President Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) worked hard in 2019 to kill the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act, contending in a committee hearing that “[nullification] is not the heroes of the stories, it’s the villains of the stories. . . To wrap yourself in a nullification banner is to be on the wrong side of history.” There’s egregious hypocrisy here as Treat authored a bill nullifying federal regulations in 2016, so he likely doesn’t even believe what he’s saying. But worse are the lies he’s spreading about American history which are exactly opposite of the truth. In the slavery debate, nullifiers were the heroes – their opponents the villains.

Deception #7: There would be pro-choice blowback if Oklahoma abolished abortion

The third and final article linked to in the website’s dropdown menu is a Bloomberg article written by Ramesh Ponnuru. His argument is that we shouldn’t abolish abortion immediately because of the potential for pro-choice blowback:

Pro-lifers would consider it morally obligatory to press for the maximum feasible legal protection for unborn children that could be sustained over time. But the risks of a backlash that set back that protection would be substantial, particularly in some states. At each time and place, the pro-life task will be twofold: putting into law those protections that command a consensus and working to change that consensus in the direction of more perfect justice. Each stage of this process of democratic persuasion will require difficult judgments of what is achievable.

For his part, Ponnuru is only guilty of poor reasoning and faithlessness. You make societal change not by conceding the foundation of your argument to your opponent but by making principled stands. And our role as Christians is to be faithful, which should preclude us from the type of worldly pragmatism Ponnuru is engaging in. As the popular 18th century abolitionist slogan goes, “Duty is ours, results belong to God.”

Another miscalculation of Ponnuru’s statement is that he’s not accounting for the fact that the law is a teacher. Ponnuru argues that abolishing abortion would go too far and thus turn people off to the cause. In reality, the law instructs and thereby moves culture. A principled law which treats abortion as murder would have a tremendous effect toward teaching the culture the right things about preborn human beings.

However, for all his intellectual errors, the dishonesty is not on the part of Ponnuru but on the part of abolitiontruth.org. Ponnuru’s argument is that blowback will occur against bills that go too far in outlawing abortion before the culture is ready for change. To include this on a website specifically addressing Oklahoma is absurd. Oklahoma is ready for that change. A thousand people demanded abortion’s immediate abolition at the State Capitol last year and thousands will be there on February 11 this year. Again, pro-life bills pass in Oklahoma nearly unanimously. The pro-abortion lobby has no power here. There will be no significant leftist blowback from abolishing abortion in the State of Oklahoma. The people will be celebrating in the streets the day abortion is abolished.

Deception #8: Abolitionists haven’t accomplished anything

Returning to Carter’s article, the pro-life leaders often like to say that abolitionists haven’t accomplished anything. Carter writes: “Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973 the immediatists have made absolutely no progress, while the incrementalists have helped to save the lives of thousands of children.”

This is an egregious sleight of hand. Carter conveniently fails to mention the reason why a bill of total and immediate abolition hasn’t passed: the pro-life leaders that he defends. As mentioned earlier, in Oklahoma, NARAL and Planned Parenthood have no political power. They cannot keep abortion from being abolished if the pro-life politicians decide to abolish abortion. But it’s the pro-life politicians and lobbyists who are fighting against abortion’s abolition for the abortion industry. The pro-life leaders have killed bills to abolish abortion in Oklahoma, IdahoIndiana, and Texas, and they will oppose abolition wherever else an abolition bill pops up. National Right to Life closing its doors would clear the path for abortion to be abolished in Oklahoma and a number of other states possibly within the next year or two. That may sound shocking to some, but it’s true. They and their political allies are the ones keeping abortion legal.

Again, the people behind abolitiontruth.org spread lies like these eight seemingly in an attempt to reach more people with the lies than abolitionists can reach with the truth. We have to prove them wrong. The lives of the roughly 5,000 preborn human beings murder in Oklahoma every year depend on it. Please share this article and post it in the comments of any post you see that shares abolitiontruth.org.

The day pro-life politicians and lobbyists, including those who made abolitiontruth.org, stop opposing the total and immediate abolition of abortion is the day abortion will be abolished. Pray that day comes soon.