Oklahoma is joining the red-state race to be the first to challenge Roe v Wade at the national level. They will be trying their very own Personhood bill next month. The bill’s language calls for a constitutional amendment language similar to what we have seen in these bills thus far:
With respect to the right to life, the term “persons”, as used in Section 2 of Article II of this Constitution, applies to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.
But the author of the Oklahoma bill, Rep. Mike Reynolds, has included the following exceptions in this bill, in an attempt to differentiate it from the Kansas legislation and failed Mississippi legislation. In an obvious effort to make it more appealing in a popular vote the proposed amendment contains the following exceptions:
1. Only birth control that kill a person shall be affected by this section.
2. Only in vitro fertilization and assisted reproduction that kills a person shall be affected by this section.
3. Medical treatment for life-threatening physical conditions intended to preserve life shall not be affected by this section.
4. Spontaneous miscarriages shall not be affected by this section.
In spite of these exceptions, Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of Oklahoma ACLU wants to point out that the language “from the beginning of the biological development of a unique human being” is still vague enough to make this legislation’s effects just as uncertain as the Mississippi legislation.
Representative Reynolds was interviewed by an Oklahoma news station and stated, “We want to limit what the courts could do with regard to saying its alright to kill an unborn child. We want to make it clear that a woman will not be prosecuted if she has a miscarriage. Also there are exceptions to rape or incest. We’re just trying to protect children.”
His statement is in direct contradiction to what the actual bill language, which states the following:
5. No innocent child created through rape or incest shall be killed for the crime of his or her father.
Representative Reynolds goes on to say, “I didn’t go up to fight the easy battles or not fight any battles, I went up to represent my constituents beliefs and my beliefs.”
Ryan Kiesel has this to say about the legislation, “This is perhaps one of the most extreme assaults on reproductive freedom and on the integrity of women to be able to make decisions about their own lives and their own health care”
In Kansas constitutional amendments must pass with super majorities of two-thirds voting affirmative in both chambers. Oklahoma only requires a simple majority in the House and Senate. This combined with the outlined “exceptions” could, perhaps, give the Oklahoma personhood pushers an advantage over the attempt in Kansas.
Stayed tuned to RH Reality Check for more information on the Midwest “Personhood Push”.