Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Must Read: Rep. Steve O'Ban's Floor Speech on HB 1044

Right not to be Coerced to Take Human Life

Mr. Speaker, this bill is not about one’s views on regulating abortion or a women’s right to choose. This bill is about the value we place on the freedom of conscience. This bill is a test of all of us in this chamber. Do we nurture and celebrate people who follow their conscience? Or, do we burden and undermine conscience? And not just any issue of conscience is at stake.

This bill would force Americans to violate conscience on the most profound moral issue imaginable. This bill would force Americans to assist in taking what they believe to be innocent human life. Since the Quakers in colonial America were jailed for refusing to serve in colonial militias, our nation has affirmed the right of conscience. Their refusal to take life changed colonial laws and in every armed conflict since, Americans have been exempted for conscience sake. Our laws have responded to protect conscience, again and again.
  • Within weeks of Roe v Wade in 1973, every state and the federal gov’t enacted exemptions so doctors would not be forced to take human life.
  • Our state’s physician-assisted suicide laws, exempt physicians from being coerced to take human life. 
  •  Our state corrections employees are excused from participating in state executions.
And yet, not since the Quakers were jailed in colonial America, would a law punish Americans who refuse to take human life, until HB 1044. No other state, no other gov’t has broken with the long tradition of our nation protecting conscience in this way, until HB 1044.