Oklahoma lawmaker compares abortion to slavery

“If I had my choice (between being aborted or being enslaved), I guess I’d be a slave,” state Rep. Jim Olsen said. “At least the slave has his life.”

Video Transcript

AJAY PITTMAN: What was going through my head was shock and appall.

- A controversial comparison made in the debate over an abortion bill. Republican representative Jim Olsen introducing his bill that would make performing an abortion a felony, in his argument comparing the fight to abolish abortion to a long push to abolish slavery.

JIM OLSEN: This is absolutely worth doing, even if it takes a long time.

- But that message was a miss for some in the room.

- Saving the lives of an unborn child is more important than saving the lives of slaves?

JIM OLSEN: None of us would like to be a slave. If I had my choice, I guess I'd be a slave. At least the slave has his life.

- Later, representative Wilson doubling down, saying it's in no way an endorsement of slavery.

JIM OLSEN: In the context of history in general, I did compare one evil to another. And very frankly, I make no apology for it.

AJAY PITTMAN: That's triggering. That's traumatizing. That's hurtful.

- Democratic representative Ajay Pittman saying regardless of his intention, the comparison was very culturally insensitive to herself and many others his words reach.

AJAY PITTMAN: To compare a dying baby or a baby not being born, an unborn child, to a slave, that is disheartening. And that says that we are continuing to move backwards in the state of Oklahoma.