Raise your hand if you want the state government to decide what birth control method you can use, what type of fertility treatments are available to you, or how to make medical decisions involving a life-threatening pregnancy complication. If your hand is in the air, you are in luck. Senate Bill 1433, “The Personhood Act,” passed out of committee and could become law in Oklahoma. This bill states that life begins at conception, so a single-cell fertilized egg has “all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”
Personhood USA and its partners in Colorado and Mississippi promote this type of legislation throughout the United States. Voters in both states, including pro-life voters, have rejected it because of the ambiguous language and the many questions it raises—and leaves to future legislatures or courts to answer. Other states have refused to allow such measures to come to a vote.
Pregnancy comes with many hazards to embryos and pregnant women. Some pregnancies implant outside the uterus, can never become viable infants, but can lead to the mother’s death by internal bleeding. Molar pregnancies do not result in live births, but can threaten a woman’s life and health. Rarely a healthy, early pregnancy can be life-threatening to the mother due to a medical condition, and pregnancy termination is recommended to save her life. Some traumatized women choose pregnancy terminations after rape or incest. These are all complex medical decisions that are now made by physicians, women, their families, and their clergy. The Personhood Act would give this decision to state government and courts.
If you believe that state government will make all these decisions better than you and your family, then the Personhood Act should have your full support. If you support limited government, let your senator know.
Dana Stone, M.D.
Dr. Stone is an Oklahoma City obstetrician/gynecologist