April 30, 2012 — The Oklahoma House adjourned on Thursday without taking action on a "personhood" bill (SB 1433), meaning that the measure will not advance this year, The Oklahoman reports. Thursday was the final day for Senate-originated bills to be considered in the House. A last-minute push by the measure's supporters failed to convince lawmakers to motion for a hearing on the legislation (McNutt, The Oklahoman, 4/27).
The bill would have granted "the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other" state residents. It defined "unborn child" as "the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth."
The Senate approved the bill in February, and many expected that the Republican-controlled House would also pass the measure and send it to Gov. Mary Fallin (R), an abortion-rights opponent. However, the House Republican caucus held a private vote on April 19 and decided not to proceed with the legislation (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/20).
Last week, some House Republicans were upset with a letter from officials from Oklahomans for Life that threatened to label the lawmakers as "pro-abortion rights" if they blocked the bill. The officials later retracted the threat and apologized.
House Speaker Kris Steele (R) said the group had gone "too far" in its attempts to persuade House Republicans to back the bill (The Oklahoman, 4/27).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership