Oklahoma Legislature Poised to Pass Personhood Bill

Posted on April 10, 2012

RH Reality Check, April 10, 2012 by Kari Ann Rinker

Oklahoma is on the verge of becoming the first state to pass a “personhood” bill. The state Senate has already passed the bill and the House is expected to pass the legislation as  early as today.

Anti-choice lawmakers in Oklahoma have had several personhood initiatives running simultaneously within the state. One is a legislative attempt amend the constitution, another a simple state statute providing eggs with rights upon fertilization, and yet another a citizen petition signature drive, which would also amend the state constitution.  This citizen attempt is currently being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

SB 1433 is the statutory attempt to establish human rights for fertilized eggs and is the one on the verge of being passed.  We previously wrote about this proposed legislation and found that a similar measure had been passed in Missouri.  However, Reuters points out this measure varies from the Missouri bill in a significant way:

The bill mimics almost verbatim similar legislation enacted in Missouri in 1986, one of the country’s first personhood measures. Like the Missouri law, the Oklahoma bill requires the state to give unborn children the same rights and privileges available to other citizens, from the “moment of conception until birth.”

But there is a crucial difference. While the Missouri statute explicitly recognized that the rights of unborn children are “subject to the Constitution of the United States, and decisional interpretations thereof by the United States Supreme Court,” Oklahoma makes no such acknowledgement. That difference brings the Oklahoma bill into direct conflict with Roe, providing grounds for a lawsuit.

Anti-choice Governor Mary Falin has not indicated whether she will sign this legislation, but being anti-choice and all… there is a very good chance that she will.  Credo has issued a call to action surrounding SB 1433. 

Posted in: Oklahoma