Oklahoma State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R) has already unsuccessfully attempted to pass a far-right “personhood” bill to endow embryos with “all the rights, privileges and immunities” of other U.S. citizens. That bill failed without coming up for a vote in April, but Reynolds is ready to try again in the new legislative session.
According to the Tulsa World, the state lawmaker has authored a new bill that is “virtually identical” to last year’s failed personhood measure, which women’s health advocates warned could actually result in outlawing some forms of contraception and invitro fertilization:
The bill states that life begins at conception — which is already part of state law — and that “unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being,” and that Oklahoma law “shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.”
Pregnant women are exempt from prosecution for “indirectly harming her unborn child” and miscarriages.
Personhood measures are so extreme that they don’t even have the full support of the anti-choice community. A similar proposal in Virginia faced strong opposition from Republicans during the last session, and personhood initiatives across the country have failed to gain traction over the past year.
In addition to the failure of Reynold’s first anti-abortion bill, Oklahoma’s personhood movement was dealt another blow last year when the Supreme Court confirmed that defining an embryo as a citizen is “clearly unconstitutional.”
Nonetheless, far-right lawmakers like Reynolds are pressing on in their quest to redefine personhood to include zygotes. And the radical anti-choice agenda is looking for inroads on a national level, too — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is among the Congressmembers supporting a fetal personhood bill this year.