Anti-abortion "personhood" bill clears Oklahoma senate

OKLAHOMA CITY Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:29am 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.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor)

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Comments (10)
Jro65 wrote:
Guess Republicans didn’t learn any real science when they were taught creationism.
They should stop enacting their idiotic laws and just let “god” deal with it.

Feb 16, 2012 2:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
Andy_Anderson wrote:
Unbelievable that this overwhelmingly male group of legislators thinks they have the right to dictate to females what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

This isn’t pro-life, it’s anti-woman.

Feb 16, 2012 11:35am EST  --  Report as abuse
LSKfromPA wrote:
It’s good that so many DO have an understanding of biology, and know that new DNA, and a new life is created, at conception. Each of us begins as a single cell. Without that first cell, there would be ‘person’. I agree that we should “let God deal with it” instead of legalizing the murder of 3500-4000 babies EVERY DAY in America alone by unnatural means. Our Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution acknowledge the right to life. I pray that Oklahoma’s Senate will serve as a role model for other states and send a message to Washington.

Feb 16, 2012 11:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
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