Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Oklahoma GOP & Supreme Court Defeat Personhood

After the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican governor of Oklahoma refused to consider giving unborn children a right to live, the citizen-led personhood referendum campaign was struck down as unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court citing the so-called right to abortion, thus denying the citizens' constitutional rights to petition government.
For background, read Abortionists Fear Personhood Movement Gaining Steam and also read Dems' Life Mission to Kill the Unborn, Says Miss. Governor as well as Colorado Personhood on the Ballot in 2012, Again

-- From "Oklahoma court rejects ballot initiative on 'personhood'" By Steve Olafson, Reuters 4/30/12

Passage of a personhood law or constitutional amendment would have the effect of banning abortion in the state, both supporters and critics have said.

A personhood bill passed the Oklahoma state Senate in February but the state's House of Representatives refused to bring it to a vote last week.

The petition was challenged in court last month by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and local abortion rights groups.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Oklahoma Personhood Bill Backers Fail To Get Hearing" by The Associated Press 4/26/12

The state Senate-passed personhood bill has not been scheduled for a hearing in the House. But Rep. Mike Reynolds of Oklahoma City moved Wednesday evening to suspend state House rules and allow the personhood bill to be immediately debated and voted on.

House Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Hickman of Dacoma, who was presiding over the chamber, ruled that Reynolds' motion was out of order. Hickman says any new business heard by the House must be scheduled with House Floor Leader Dale DeWitt of Braman.

House Speaker Kris Steele of Shawnee says a majority of the Republican caucus has privately voted against hearing the bill.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Oklahoma's top court rejects 'personhood' for embryos" by Michael Winter, USA TODAY 4/30/12

The state's high court ruled [unanimously] that Initiative Petition No. 395, which supporters had hoped to put to voters in November, was "clearly unconstitutional" because if violated a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld a woman's right to an abortion, The Oklahoman says.

Here's what the amendment, also known as State Question No. 761, sought to do:
This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution to reconcile recent scientific developments with the definition of a human being for the purpose of equal protection under the law. The proposed amendment expands the legal definition of humanity or "personhood" to include every human being, regardless of place of residence, race, gender, age, disability, health, level of function, condition of dependency, or method of reproduction, from the beginning of biological development to the end of natural life. The amendment applies the term "person" under the Oklahoma Constitution equally to every human being so defined and prohibits the intentional killing of any such "person" without due process of law.
To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects embryo 'personhood' measure" by The Associated Press 4/30/12

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights filed a protest with the state Supreme Court on behalf of several Oklahoma doctors and residents. They asked the court to stop the group Personhood Oklahoma from gathering signatures.

The ruling is the latest setback for abortion opponents who have been pursuing personhood measures in several states. In December, a judge in Nevada ruled that a personhood initiative petition was vague and could not be circulated for signatures to qualify for the 2012 ballot. Similar proposals were defeated last year in Mississippi and Colorado.

The backers of the signature drive say their goal is to set up a legal challenge to the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 that gave women a legal right to abortion

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Okla. court halts 'personhood' rights for embryos" by The Associated Press 5/1/12

Dan Skerbitz of Personhood Oklahoma said the organization's attorneys will have to study the decision before deciding how to proceed. He said that next year, supporters may ask the Legislature to place the issue on a statewide ballot.

Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU's Oklahoma chapter and a former Democratic lawmaker, said the court's decision Monday supports the notion that a woman and her family, "and not the government," should be making decisions on reproductive health care

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lessons from the Defeat of the Oklahoma Personhood Bill" by Sarah Morice-Brubaker, Religion Dispatches 4/30/12

Why did SB-1433, the Oklahoma personhood bill, die? Until very recently, most people watching the bill expected it to pass. It passed the senate, it passed the house Public Health and Safety Committee, and Governor Mary Fallin had said that she would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that crossed her desk.

Well, there was a fight, but SB-1433 was never heard, and now the deadline has expired. In the aftermath, it seems to me that two factors contributed to the bill’s defeat: 1) Deep disagreement, between the personhood movement and more mainstream pro-life Oklahoma voters and legislators, on the advisability of amendments to the bill; and 2) The development of ill will between the personhood lobby and the Republican representatives.

To recap: In the past few weeks, Oklahoma house Republicans have been heavily lobbied by both Oklahomans for Life and Personhood Oklahoma (a state affiliate of Personhood USA). Those groups firmly opposed any amendment to the bill — even amendments that would protect access to IVF and birth control, and would clarify that women with life-threatening pregnancies could still receive treatment. Nevertheless, some supporters of the bill continued to claim that SB-1433 was nothing more than a statement of pro-life principles and wouldn’t affect Oklahomans’ access to assisted reproduction, emergency medical treatment, and their chosen form of birth control.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.