Victory For Women! Anti-Abortion Personhood Bill Fails In Oklahoma Legislature

The Republican Party has been waging a merciless war on women. Across the nation, right-wing lawmakers have been trying to strip women of their right to abortion and contraceptive services. But on Thursday, women scored a victory in Oklahoma, as a controversial personhood bill, also known as SB 1433, was aborted in the state legislature.

Despite a Republican dominated Senate that passed the bill and an anti-abortion Governor willing to sign the bill, it failed in the Republican dominated House before it even reached the floor. Conservative Rep. Randy Terrill accused the Republican House Speaker of throwing the caucus “under the bus,” while Martha Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said she was very pleased with the bill’s failure, citing it as a threat to contraceptives, including the morning-after pill.

The personhood bill was fiercely contested by women in the state legislature and in Oklahoma in general. It not only sparked a feminist movement in the state, it sparked the addition of amendments that attacked the reproductive rights of men, including one offered by Senator Constance Johnson which would have banned masturbation by declaring wasted sperm an act against unborn children. The bill was also lampooned on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, revealing how hypocritical male lawmakers in Oklahoma were being in regard to the bill versus Johnson’s amendment. The segment proved to be a major embarrassment to male Republican lawmakers, who saw nothing wrong with restricting the reproductive rights of women, while at the same time complaining about infringements on their own reproductive rights.

This is yet another personhood initiative that has failed. Mississippi voters recently rejected a personhood amendment by a sound margin. But most importantly, this is a victory for women in Oklahoma and across the country against Republican efforts to make women subservient to the whims of male lawmakers. It should inspire women everywhere to keep fighting back, because even the most Republican dominated legislature can back down due to pressure. For now, Oklahoma lawmakers have chosen not to move forward with the dangerous bill. And that’s great news for women who value their reproductive freedom.