Today I attended the Public Health Committee of the House at our illustrious legislature to listen to debate on several anti-choice bills we’ve been following here at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma. I’ve been doing this for many years now, and I guess you start to think you’ve heard it all. But here’s what I learned this afternoon.
If Rep. Vaughn has his way, in Oklahoma, a fertilized egg is about to achieve legal personhood, with all the rights attending thereto. Not just one fertilized egg, actually. All fertilized eggs, at least those still enclosed in a woman’s body. If they’re nesting in a test tube at a fertility clinic, they’re exempted. (What does that have to do with anything?!?! It’s a person or not—depending on where it’s located?)
So HB 1571 would designate a fertilized egg as a person if it’s still residing in its mother’s uterus. In the committee meeting, Rep. Jeannie McDaniel asked for clarification as to what this might mean to a woman carrying an early pregnancy who inadvertently did something leading to a miscarriage. Might she be charged with manslaughter or some similar crime?
Rep. Vaughn, speaking for this insane bill, conceded that this could, indeed, be the case, though he carefully pointed out that it wasn’t he who would make that decision, but the courts.
Are you getting this? If you’re two weeks pregnant and don’t even know it yet, and you do something that leads to a miscarriage, you could be charged exactly as you might if you accidentally or negligently killed a “post-born” person.
The only two Representatives on the Public Health Committee who had the guts to vote to protect us, their fellow Oklahomans—the ones outside our mothers’ bodies—were Jeannie McDaniel and Al McCaffrey.
Let me say here a public thank you to these two for their direct and horrified reactions to this insanity. Thank you for questioning this nutty, dreadful bill, for debating against it and for voting against it.