The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35. Read more
Oklahoma Speaker of the House Blocks Personhood Act, Personhood USA: “Unforgivable.”
In a procedural move rarely seen or used in Oklahoma politics, Oklahoma Speaker of the House Republican Kris Steele blocked the Oklahoma Personhood Act, SB 1433, from coming to a floor vote today giving pro-abortion supporters hope that the measure would not reach pro-life Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. The bill received the backing of the House Committee on Public Health by a vote of 7 to 4 in late March with a recommendation of “do pass,” and the state Senate by a vote of 34 to 8 in February.
Pro-personhood legislators and several dozen pro-life Oklahoma citizens who arrived for today’s session are currently circulating a petition that would provide the House an opportunity to bypass the Speaker and allow the bill to be put to a full vote. The petition must be signed by 68 of the state’s 101 Representatives.
Both the National Right to Life affiliate, Oklahomans for Life, and Personhood USA affiliate, Personhood Oklahoma have endorsed the measure, with unprecedented support from the Oklahoma Eagle Forum.
Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich released a statement in support of the bill in February:
“I applaud the Republicans and the Democrats in the Oklahoma Senate who voted last week in favor of bipartisan personhood legislation. As I have stated a number of times in this campaign, I support the personhood principle, and I support states finding ways to defend life by defining personhood under their state constitutions. It is my hope that Congress will one day pass pro-life legislation under the 14th Amendment that defines personhood as beginning at conception.”
“The life of each human being begins at conception,“ reads the Oklahoma Personhood Act. When passed in the Senate, Pro Tempore President Brian Bingman was quoted by Reuters as saying, :“Oklahoma is a conservative pro-life state-we are proud to stand up for what we know is right. 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/16/us-oklahoma-personhood-idUSTRE…
Setting the legal definition of the beginning of human life, the Personhood Act brings Oklahoma law in line with what scientists have taught for decades.
The late Dr. Jerome LeJeune, professor of genetics, told a 1981 U.S. Senate hearing: “After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. It is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”
The hearing determined: “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being—a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”
The measure will also guarantee the personhood rights of all preborn children from conception.
“The laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state,” reads SB 1433. “‘Unborn child’ and ‘unborn children’ shall include all unborn children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.”
“All of the major pro-life organizations support recognizing the personhood rights of the preborn in Oklahoma. Speaker Steele has demonstrated today that he does not represent the interests of his constituency. There is absolutely no reason for an allegedly pro-life Republican to block a pro-family, pro-life measure,” stated Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “Speaker Steele’s actions are unforgivable. He must hear from the pro-life citizens of Oklahoma that what he has done will cost him his reputation and damage the Republican Party in Oklahoma.”