House passes resolution with 'personhood' language
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
4/24/12 at 11:53 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state House approved a resolution Tuesday declaring that life begins at conception -- despite opposition by pro-life leaders.
The resolution mimics language in a controversial "personhood" bill but lacks the effect of law.
HR 1054 passed on a 74-13 vote.
Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, a leading pro-life voice in the House, argued against the life-begins-at-conception measure because it isn't the personhood bill and wouldn't have the effect of law.
"Every single one of us knows this resolution doesn't do a thing," Hamilton said. "I've seen these tactics before. These are the tactics that are used to bottle up pro-life bills and have been for 30 years."
In addition to Hamilton, Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, voted against the measure. Reynolds is a leader of an initiative petition to make the personhood measure part of the Oklahoma Constitution. He also is a leading backer of Senate Bill 1433, the personhood bill.
The resolution says that "person means a human being at all stages of human development of life, including the state of fertilization or conception, regardless of age, health, level or functioning, or condition of dependency" and "that all persons are created free and have inalienable rights."
The resolution specifically states that it does not apply to in vitro fertilization.
The personhood bill would bestow "all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of this state" on "unborn children ... from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development."
Pro-choice legislators questioned the bill, pointing out that its language was already in state statute.
Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, asked why the House wasn't using its time on more important measures that might actually help living people.
Opponents also tried to corner the resolution's author -- Rep. Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City -- on why life begins at conception, except with in vitro life.
But Vaughan argued with emotion that the resolution was an important symbolic move.
"Does this make a difference? Yes, it does," Vaughan said. "This is our Declaration of Independence.
"Life starts at conception. I know it. I love it. I want it. And I want it to be heard across the country and across the state."
Oklahoma State Representative Steve Vaughan Courtesy