Lawmakers in Virginia and Oklahoma approved “personhood” legislation last week to recognize that human life begins at conception, drawing praise from pro-life activists and fury from abortion advocates. Analysts say neither of the bills would immediately ban abortions, but a prohibition would kick in if and when the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling is undone.
The Personhood movement has been working hard at the state level recently to legally define human life as beginning at the moment of conception. The idea received strong support from numerous pro-life organizations, but a well-funded fear-mongering campaign waged by pro-abortion activists — often funded by tax dollars — scared enough voters in Colorado and Mississippi to kill the measure, at least for now.
Both Colorado and Mississippi held popular elections to decide whether to amend their state constitutions to legally recognize the personhood of unborn children. Those measures failed. But in Oklahoma and Virginia, by contrast, lawmakers are taking the lead in defining personhood in state statutes instead, following a nationwide trend by state legislatures in efforts to protect the unborn.
Oklahoma State Senators overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan personhood bill late last week, with 34 votes in favor and only 8 against. It is widely expected to pass in the state House of Representatives, too. And analysts say Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who has been supportive of state efforts to defend life, will likely sign it into law.
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