Good on you for attending training events learning to be a better legislator. I say Stephens County has been ineffectively represented in the Oklahoma Senate since Wayne Holden served there. Perhaps as seniority and experience accumulates you will fix that.  

About the results of your election contest I noticed that you poled stronger in Stephens County precincts than those outside. Sparked the snide comment, the better voters knew the incumbent the less they wanted him to continue to represent them.  Telling the impact of personality on voter choices.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,….” Disputes need to be resolved in ways that restore relationships or make them tolerable.

The description of the debate about abortion as only two views is not helpful. I expect you are right in saying the two extreme views will never align. But at an extreme is not where we want to end up. The metaphysical conceit that human life begins at conception concession is extreme.  As is the meme that life begins with the first inhaled breath, as it did for Adam. Neither serve to insure domestic tranquility.

When asked about abortion as a topic of the interim study a paraphrase of the reported response would be, “That ship has sailed.” And you were right, it had. But as Tom Cole said in an other context, “There is no such thing as permeant tax cut.”

Let me try to tell you how it is going to be in America. (Though I won’t live to see it) After a time of wandering we will return to neighborhoods we were in during 1823. 

Two-hundred years ago abortion was a fundamental right. As a matter of common law in England and in the United States abortion was illegal anytime after quickening, not illegal before. Sounds like Roe, doesn’t it?  

In my history book the criminalization of all abortion began as a war on poisons. Abortion had became commercialized. Abortifacients had become a profitable product sold by doctors, apothecaries, and other healers. Abortifacients which often killed the women who took them.  Those first laws being about poisons, did not punish women for inducing abortions and did not address the concept of Quickening. 

The war on poisoning abortifacients evolved into a turf war between the AMA (formed in 1857) and other healers and midwives.  At that turf war’s climax physicians had won the criminalization of all abortion and retained to themselves alone the right to induce abortions when they determined it necessary—life of the woman. The idea of Quickening, incompatible with that retained right, was targeted and discredited.

Judge Alito blew off common law as not deeply rooted…”  Common law developed and polished over centuries of cases dismissed. Considered 19th century statutes (products of the American Medical Association’s turf war with midwives) as signifying.  

Abortion is not in the Bill of Rights. No fundamental right that had not yet been been abused by authority is there.

Those old birds didn’t have a lot to work with, still they did well in answering an unanswerable question—when does human life begin—in a way that kept the peace in their time. By their lights there is a fundamental right to abortion. A right that degrades rapidly as the pregnancy progresses. Quickening served well, before becoming collateral damage in a turf war between physicians and midwives.

We in America will find a way to express that right. That is how it is going to be.

With or without out AMA vs midwives, Quickening was bound to be discredited. Because it is a bright line. The stumbling block of all rules of that type is the bright line.  Quickening, 1st trimester, heart beat, pain, 15-weeks, conception, first breath, etc. are all bright lines, and all bright lines are arbitrary answers to that unanswerable question. We all know now age is a continuum with no abrupt cutoffs. We also know the possible combinations of genes when a sperm joins an egg is humongous. And that medical services are not uniform among localities.  All that makes viability, the most rational of the bright lines, a variable. Even the physician’s bright line, life of the woman, is a guess subject to second guesses. The bright lines of rape and incest don’t pass the Supreme Court’s test.  Makes any arbitrary rule something to debate fight about.

Romanticizing the past and longing for simpler times. Yes, guilty I am. Imagining the common law answer to have been pure—free of economic, political and religion influences. I see political parties fanning the differences, overstating the positions of others, implementing extreme position rules. Supporting all like that is what I am complaining about. Promoting division to gain political capital violates the spirit of the Constitution. Finding a way forward is already super hard. We need leadership toward domestic tranquility. That is your job. 

Meanwhile, if in the near future some women find ways and means to legally evade the letter of Oklahoma’s abortions law please refrain from more laws to stop them. 

Thank You for Serving

Jim T. Holland

P.S. The woman faced with an unexpected, unwanted pregnancy is certainly facing the hassle of her life. She is required to choose from a selection of dreadfuls. 

But wait. Here in Oklahoma there is no selection. Republican legislators and a governor made that decision themselves. Let freedom ring. Let self reliance flourish, Let responsibility abound. All problems are solved. Nothing to fret about. Just another experience in life.

Dear Senator…

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