(Updated April 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm MDT)
The Republican caucus in the Oklahoma House of Representatives has voted to kill the proposed Personhood Act and not let it go to a vote on the House floor. The bill sailed through the Oklahoma Senate by a vote of 34-7 earlier this year and was widely expected to do so in the Republican-dominated House as well. It was assumed Republican Governor Mary Fallin, an abortion opponent, would then sign the bill into law. Proponents of the bill were quick to criticize the action and called for a full and public vote of the House. Opponents, from the beginning, had expressed concern that the bill would restrict abortions, birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and stem cell research.
NewsOK reported on Friday:
“This decision was not made unilaterally, but as a caucus collectively,” said House Speaker Kris Steele (R), who said he would have voted for the so-called personhood measure. “The fact is this bill sends a statement Oklahoma has already made. 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.” …
… Steele said House Republicans also voiced concern about possible litigation. A lawsuit was filed last month against an initiative petition drive to put a similar measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. That constitutional amendment would define a fertilized human egg as a human being and would ban abortions and outlaw certain forms of birth control.
If nothing else, the action shows that not all Republicans have joined the ultraconservative movement to use all possible means to restrict and/or deny women’s rights to privacy and control over their own reproductive health decisions.
Let’s hope those thinking Republicans will not ultimately be outweighed by the likes of Oklahoma Rep. Pam Peterson (R), whose fetal heartbeat bill is on its way to Gov. Fallin’s desk. The bill essentially duplicates an existing law requiring that a pregnant woman hear her fetus’s heartbeat before an abortion.
More than 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States since the procedure was legalized in 1973, she said.
“If we had all those babies working, paying taxes, that’s an economic issue,” Peterson said. “We are suffering the consequences of Roe v. Wade now in the 21st century. We now have more baby boomers, and we have nobody to replace us.”
So … let’s see … Roe v. Wade is causing an economic issue … an underpopulation problem (that’s a problem?) and … umm … a reduced tax base (?) … so we need to overturn it to fix the economy … or … er, pay into her Social Security fund or … hmm … save the babies just to replace “us” … “us” being her … or Republicans? Overturn Roe v. Wade to assure the supply of Republicans!? Egad, what a fiendish idea! Assuming, of course, that they’d all grow up to be Republicans …
Note: On April 10, Arizona enacted a law saying that pregnancy begins two weeks before conception.
More on Oklahoma personhood bill:
- Oklahoma House won’t take up personhood bill (newsok.com)
- Another Conservative State Fails To Pass ‘Personhood’ Legislation (thinkprogress.org)
- OK: Oklahoma “personhood” bill fails in Legislature (reuters.com)
- Oklahoma GOP Leadership Fails to Bring Personhood Act to Floor Vote (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
And on the Arizona law:
- AZ Legislature Passes “Pregnancy Begins 2 Weeks Before Conception” Bill (thenewcivilrightsmovement.com)
- Arizona Abortion Bill: Legislators Pass Three Bills, Including One That Redefines When Life Begins (huffingtonpost.com)