Anti-abortion "personhood" bill clears Oklahoma senate

OKLAHOMA CITY Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:05pm EST

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma lawmakers edged closer toward trying to outlaw abortion on Wednesday by approving "personhood" legislation that gives individual rights to an embryo from the moment of conception.

The Republican-controlled state Senate voted 34-8 to pass the "Personhood Act" which defines the word person under state law to include unborn children from the moment of conception.

The measure now goes to the state House where pro-life Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than a 2-1 margin.

Oklahoma's Republican Governor Mary Fallin, who signed every anti-abortion bill sent to her last year, did not issue a reaction to the latest right-to-life measure.

"Oklahoma is a conservative pro-life state-we are proud to stand up for what we know is right," Senate Pro Tempore President Brian Bingman, a Republican, said.

"This bill is one of many Senate Republicans have advanced which affirms the right to life and I am proud to support it," he added.

The Oklahoma legislation cleared the state Senate a day after Republican lawmakers in Virginia's House of Delegates passed a similar personhood measure.

Republican senate leaders said the Oklahoma bill is patterned after a similar law in Missouri that was determined to be constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

State Senator Brian Crain, who backed the bill, said it would not hamper access to contraception or prevent stem cell research.

But Martha Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said that a state law declaring that life begins at conception could have "dire consequences."

The bill offers no exceptions in the case of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest and could mean some forms of contraception such as the "morning after pill" would be unavailable, she said.

Doctors who perform in vitro fertilization procedures also will be unlikely to continue for fear of prosecution, she added.

"It's a sad day for people in Oklahoma when the Legislature puts them in harm's way," said Skeeters.

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Comments (5)
Jayx wrote:
Presumably this would outlaw the use of contraceptive devices such as the IUD (ie coil), as this allows the egg to be fertilized (and therefore become a “person” according to this legislation), but prevents it attaching to the uterine wall and thus it is flushed out with the normal monthly cycle.

Feb 16, 2012 6:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
idlespire1 wrote:
All I have to say, is that if you are a woman in Okie…MOVE.

Feb 16, 2012 10:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This is the problem with fanatics: they don’t see how their views relate to reality.

If a doctor has to terminate a pregnancy because of risks to the mother in the first few months, are you going to charge him with murder? Are you going to tell him to let the mother die, and then let the baby die anyway because it is not yet able to survive on it’s own?

A developing embryo that is not able to survive outside the mother cannot be considered alive. Late term abortions where the baby could survive are a problem; anything else just doesn’t make sense to ban.

Feb 17, 2012 11:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
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