Personhood seems to be all the rage in terms of anti-choice legislation. It has already been voted on and defeated in both Colorado and Mississippi. Despite resounding no’s from voters, lawmakers in other states seem insistent upon getting “personhood” amendments up for a vote in numerous other states. One state jumping on the bandwagon is Oklahoma. Lawmakers there currently have two separate personhood bills in committee. One that would put “personhood” on the ballot and let the voters decide; the other would make fetal “personhood” a statute.
Not everyone in the Oklahoma State Senate thinks that “personhood” is a good idea. The bill proposing making fetal “personhood” a statute was introduced by Sen. Brian Crain (R- Tulsa) who insists that the statute would not impact the legality of abortion or birth control or in vitro fertilization like is would it so many other states. It merely states that as far as Oklahoma is concerned any embryos/fetuses that are aborted are persons.
In response to the proposed bill Sen. Jim Wilson (D-Tahlequah) proposed an amendment “that would make the father of an unborn child financially responsible for its mother’s health care, housing, transportation and nourishment while she is pregnant.” You know, to ensure the fetus “person” gets proper care. His proposed amendment failed.
Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) also proposed an amendment but hers was more blatantly intended to fail. She proposed an “every sperm is sacred” amendment which would add this language to the bill: “However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”
According to an article on The Guardian website Sen. Johnson says her amendment “seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women.” It is also intended to “draw humorous attention to the hypocrisy and inconsistency of this proposal – from the Republican perspective of down-sized government and less government intrusion into people’s private affairs.”
When the amendment was brought up in committee for discussion Sen. Johnson voted to table it highlight the fact that she never intended the amendment to be serious. It is merely her attempt to use humor to bring to light the ridiculous nature of fetal “personhood.” Between her and Virginia State Senator Janet Howell, it seems like women politicians are fighting back with humor and I’m ok with that. What about you? Do think amendments like this are useful or pointless?