Oklahoma Personhood Struck Down by Court

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled unanimously April 30th against a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma constitution that would grant “personhood” rights to human embryos, calling it unconstitutional.

Earlier in the month, the state House defeated the Personhood bill. The House Republican Caucus announced they would not take up the controversial bill, saying the decision was based on a Caucus vote.

Speaker of the Oklahoma House, Kris Steele, said that the decision not to pursue the Personhood bill does not mean the House would not continue to take up anti-abortion measures. In a press conference, he said, “We’re already perhaps the most pro-life state in this country, having passed at least 30 various pro-life measures in the past eight years alone. You will not find a bigger friend of the unborn than this Legislature, but this bill would not have any substantive policy effect.”

Hundreds of women had gathered at the Oklahoma state Capitol in March to protest the personhood bill, SB 1433, which states that life begins at conception and would give rights to a fertilized egg.

Personhood Oklahoma launched a petition drive in March to put a personhood proposal to a vote as an amendment to the state constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a complaint with the Supreme Court on behalf of Oklahoma doctors and residents, asking the court to stop the group from gathering signatures for its petition, which has since been struck down.

Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 4/30/12; Huffington Post 4/30/12; Tulsa World 4/20/12; The Oklahoman 4/20/12; Reuters 4/19/12; NBC Local News 4/19/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 3/2/2012

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