The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed the first personhood amendment in the United States, 57-35. Read more
Personhood Oklahoma Appeals
In April, the citizens of Oklahoma were denied the opportunity to have Question 761 on their election
ballot by the state Supreme Court. Personhood Oklahoma, along with Liberty Counsel, has decided
to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. While the ultimate goal of Question 761 is to
legally “define” who in fact is a person, the appeal will also be fighting for states’ rights. We’re asking a
big question here: Should any lower court kill a measure initiated by the people before the people are
able to vote on it?
When the proposal was first made in March of this year women’s rights and civil rights groups pounced
on it immediately. At the movement of these groups the Court almost immediately stated that the
measure could not go forward. The bill was expected to pass in a state with a predominantly Republican
House and Senate. The announcement that the people of Oklahoma would not be allowed to vote on
the measure came as a shock to liberal and conservative alike. Speaker Kris Steel®, when given the
chance to push the bill to the floor for vote, shied away from the opportunity. He stated that Oklahoma
was already a pro-life state and a statement defining the personhood of embryos was not necessary.
One can’t help but think of what the real reasons might be that has Steel hedging around this issue.
A previous case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey of 1992, was used as a defense in killing the measure
before it reached a vote on the House floor, and thereby before reaching the vote of Oklahoma’s
citizens. The state tribunal remarked, “The mandate of Casey is as binding on this Court today as it was
twenty years ago.” The thought is that if a Personhood Bill or Amendment is passed it will ban abortion
which at this time is considered a woman’s right protected by the Constitution.
When the decision to not allow Question 761 was made by the State Caucus it effectively silenced the
voice of Oklahoma’s citizens by denying them the ability to choose what their State Constitution should
say; first dealing with Personhood Amendments, and ultimately any issue the people of Oklahoma, or
any other state for that matter, would desire to vote on. The appeal is asking the US Supreme Court if it
is the right of the people of a given state (Oklahoma) to initiate a measure (vote) and if the people of a
state have the right to amend their own constitution.
Are the citizens of any given society able to “define” what and who a person is? If not, who gets
to define what a person is not? If it is society’s right and (possibly) responsibility to define person,
does it not follow that they should be able to legalize that definition in order to protect those who
Speaking of the appeal, Steve Crampton, Vice-President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty
Counsel (who is representing Personhood Oklahoma) said, “This ruling epitomizes judicial overreaching.
It not only misinterprets and misapplies federal constitutional law, but it also denies states’ rights and
strips Oklahomans of their right to petition for a substantive change in state law, which is guaranteed
under the state constitution. We are hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will reverse this
Join us as we pray that the US Supreme Court will hear this case and that God will direct the decision of
the Court to help us state the truth that a human embryo is a human being, a person, with inalienable
rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.