“Fetal Personhood” Law Passes Oklahoma Senate

A bill declaring a fertilized egg to be a “person” with constitutional rights has passed the Oklahoma Senate. The bill is expected to pass the Republican-controlled House and be signed into law by the state’s anti-abortion governor, Mary Fallin.

Personhood laws would drastically limit women’s medical options:

By giving constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, the amendment could ban emergency contraception, birth control pills and IUDs as well as all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman or girl. It could eliminate medical choices for women, such as some cancer treatments or in vitro fertilization. It could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.

Such measures have been unpopular with voters. A fetal personhood measure on Mississippi’s November ballot suffered a resounding defeat. But personhood’s proponents are pressing on in 2012, with campaigns in 11 states and counting.

Is a fetal personhood fight looming in your state? The new issue of Ms. lists the likely 2012 battlegrounds and provides a roadmap to defeating personhood measures, detailing how a feminist and civil-rights coalition did so in supposedly anti-abortion Mississippi. Join Ms. today to get the issue sent straight to your mailbox.

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Jessica Stites is the former associate editor at Ms. magazine. Today she's the editorial director of In These Times, where she runs the Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting and edits stories on labor, neoliberalism, Wall Street, immigration, mass incarceration and racial justice, among other topics.