As students, we spend a fair amount of our time on social media. The sheer volume of what we look at leads us to skip over most things or, worse, be simply too unaffected to think much about them. A recent headline caught our attention though: “Oklahoma House passes near total abortion ban with threat of prison for providers.”
We want to bring this law (Senate Bill 612) to public notice from the perspective of two teenage girls. We are not just teenage girls, but stakeholders. And we are concerned.
One of us grew up in Oklahoma and has most of her family there, and the other one has spent time there. So there is that connection. More importantly, we will soon be young women who want to have a say in the kind of world we live in.
The headline made us wonder about the separation of church and state — did the U.S. Constitution allow a bill like this? Were there women in the Oklahoma Legislature? Were those women voting for this bill?
One of the members of the House of Representatives in Oklahoma, Jim Olsen, agreed to speak with us. Olsen claimed that all life should be protected under the Constitution. He also added that life starts when a unique DNA is created, which is when unique genetic information is formed by a single sperm in an egg cell, creating a zygote. This was the basis for what he claimed was his responsibility to protect all lives, including a single fertilized egg cell.
Rep. Olsen has also expressed his strong belief for a newborn; as to however one is conceived, whether intentional or unintentional, it is not the unborn baby's fault. Olsen continues on to say that “if someone is going to lose a life out of an event of rape, let it be the man. The baby is innocent, so is the woman; we do not want to blame the baby for the sins of its father.” While we personally do not fully disagree with what he had stated here, he was not able to explain, nor understand, what hardships the mother would have to go through after she is denied from receiving a medical procedure that she desires, or possibly requires. He did acknowledge that from a man’s viewpoint, it is not within his reach to approach the issue firsthand: affirming it as, “It’ll be terrible for the woman, and I can’t imagine the trauma she is going through.”
Lastly, we want to note that we are just high school students who are genuinely concerned about the effects that this new law will have on all ages of women. Things like this are not spoken enough in school, and we can vouch how poorly the Oklahoma education system has taught kids on this matter. We want to thank the Oklahoma state representatives for spending their valuable time talking to us, in addition to having a discussion on a convoluted subject matter. Hopefully seeing that teenagers are concerned, you will be concerned, too.
Ellie Ogilvie, 17, is a rising senior at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She grew up in Oklahoma and attended school here. Gabi Wang, 17, is a rising senior at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She grew up in Japan and moved to New York during middle school.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Teens: Abortion is basic health care for women, yet banned by men