Okla. House Panel Advances 'Personhood' Bill

March 29, 2012 — The Oklahoma House Public Health Committee on Tuesday voted 7-4 to approve an amended version of a "personhood" bill (SB 1433) that would grant "the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other" state residents, the Tulsa World reports.

The bill, which now moves to the full House, defines "unborn child" as "the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth." It states that charges would not be filed against pregnant women for indirectly harming a fetus by not following prenatal care guidelines.

Rep. Lisa Billy (R), the House sponsor of the legislation, told the committee that the measure would not change existing abortion laws or affect medical research, in vitro fertilization, or other legal medical and scientific procedures.

Rep. Doug Cox (R) offered an amendment to "put into writing exactly what Rep. Billy said," but it was rejected by the committee. Another amendment that would have protected physicians if an abortion is performed to save a woman's life also was voted down (Krehbiel, Tulsa World, 3/28).