Parents who lived on dirt floors and had no running water equipped this remarkable Purcell native and Chickasaw with a long view of history and people. It is perhaps best embodied in her determination and years-long commitment to “empower this young generation that they can do better in the next generation.”
Billy was a courageous champion for the rights of unborn babies in Oklahoma as a state representative from 2004-2016. She faced large, obscene protests outside her office window for daring to protect them by repeatedly authoring pro-life legislation. Pro-choice and LGBTQ advocates hissed in her face inside the state capitol as she stood with her small children after participating in a supposedly-private prayer gathering with other state legislators. She also received death threats and for significant periods of time had to accept state trooper escorts.
In 2004, Kellyville native Todd Hiett took the gavel as Speaker of the House and head of the first Republican majority in the history of the state. Stonewalled for years from passing pro-life legislation that would protect unborn babies in the womb by the previously invincible Democrats, the new GOP majority passed a slew of pro-life bills, only to have the still-Democrat-dominated state senate kill them.
Near the end of the 2006 legislative session, Hiett shrewdly assayed that only one pro-life bill remained alive which he could wrap into a house legislative package that the senate needed to pass. It was Billy’s parental consent bill that required pregnant girls 17 years of age or under to obtain their parent’s permission before the girl could get an abortion.
Knowing the storm she had already experienced was nothing compared to what was likely to ensue if she championed her bill on the state’s most exalted stage and it eventually passed into law, she did not want to do so. “But my husband whispered to me, ‘For such a time as this…’”
State trooper and U.S. Army veteran Phillip Billy was recalling a famous Old Testament Bible verse. In it, Persian Queen Esther first recognized that perhaps she, a devout Jew, had been divinely placed in the second most powerful office in the world in order to save her people. She risked her life to do so.
In one of the most dramatic Oklahoma legislative debates of the 21st-century, Lisa Billy thundered from the floor of the state house that, “My son had to get parental permission for the school nurse to give him an Ibuprofen that we sent for him to take for his broken arm, but a teenaged girl could go get an abortion today with no consent form!”
Billy won the memorable showdown. Her parental consent legislation eventually passed into law when the House overrode Democratic Governor Brad Henry’s veto of the Senate bill that contained it. Hiett called her on the house chamber phone. Emotionally exhausted and still shaking from the debate, she listened to his admiring words: “In my eleven years in this state capitol, I have never heard such a grand debate. That was absolutely amazing.”
The above article is a bonus to the fascinating historical content found within our book
Oklahomans Vol 2 :
Statehood - 2020s
which can be purchased HERE.
View the inspiring 2-minute preview video HERE.