Hundreds Protest Okla. 'Personhood' Bill

March 1, 2012 — Outside of Oklahoma's Capitol on Tuesday, hundreds of abortion-rights advocates protested "personhood" legislation (SB 1433), the Tulsa World reports. The bill is pending in the House, after the Senate voted to approve it on Feb. 15 (Hoberock, Tulsa World, 2/29). The bill would grant fertilized eggs "all the rights, privileges and immunities" of citizens (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/17).

Rep. Mike Reynolds (R) has proposed another bill that would put the issue to a public vote. However, Rep. Gary Banz (R), chair of the House Rules Committee, said the committee will not hear the bill.

Several lawmakers joined in the protest against the bill. Sen. Constance Johnson (D) urged the group to elect lawmakers who support abortion rights and voiced opposition to a measure approved by a Senate panel on Monday that would require a physician to make available the sound of a fetal heartbeat to a woman seeking abortion care.

Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre (D) criticized Democrats who supported the bill, saying they should not be in office if they do not support women's rights (Tulsa World, 2/29).