The “Personhood Movement” wants states to declare that life begins at the moment of fertilization of a human egg. Then, all abortions would be criminalized because that “egg person” would have the same protections as born human beings. In Oklahoma, the movement has gotten tired of trying to get their “Personhood Amendment” past the voters, an effort that has failed in Colorado and Mississippi, and decided to go straight to the legislature instead. Voters have shown, three times already, that they understand how flawed this idea is. Its chances of passing a referendum are slim, even in Oklahoma.
An Oklahoma House committee has passed a “fertilized egg-as-person” bill and the bill will be brought up for a vote on the House floor soon. If it passes, it will undoubtedly set off lawsuits. The bill passed out of committee on a 10-1 vote with no testimony allowed for or against it. They also approved a bill that would mandate a woman listen to the fetal heartbeat before an abortion.
The stated goal of the “Personhood Movement” is not to get these laws enacted, but to get one enacted so that it will be fought all the way up to the Supreme Court, where they believe a 5-4 conservative majority Court will strike down Roe v. Wade.
The biggest objection to these “personhood” laws is the impact it could have on women who have spontaneous abortions, also known as miscarriages. Approximately one in four pregnancies ends in a natural miscarriage. Anti-abortion laws have already led to women who miscarried being accused of killing their babies because they were not sufficiently grieved over the loss of the pregnancy.
Pro-choice advocates are not fighting for the right to kill babies. We would rather see better sex education and access to birth control. We would rather see women not being made to feel they have no choice but to abort. But, remember this statistic – a half-million illegal abortions are performed in Argentina every year. Criminalizing abortion does not end abortion, it only drives it underground. What we want is for those who feel they must abort to be able to do so safely, with trained medical personnel in attendance, not risking their own lives to abort an unwanted pregnancy.
The anti-abortion side of this battle use pictures of developed fetuses, those older than the first trimester, to push the idea that an abortion kills a baby. By the end of the first trimester, the fetus is the size and shape of a kidney bean. There is nothing heartwrenching about a kidney bean. That is why they choose to show ultrasounds of fetuses way beyond the age of elective abortions. Abortion has been around ever since humanity figured out where babies come from. It didn’t suddenly appear in America after Roe v. Wade. The anti-abortionists want people to think it is something new, something that didn’t happen in the past, in that perfect world they think existed before 1965, but it did. Women died of abortions, women were crippled by abortions, women lost their ability to have children because of abortions. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Abortion before Roe v. Wade is a past we do not want repeated.