Oklahoma Senate Recognizes Conception as Moment Life Begins

A couple of days ago I wrote about the opposition lead by Constance Johnson against Oklahoma’s personhood bill:

In response to the proposal of a personhood bill in Oklahoma banning abortions, Democrat Constance Johnson sarcastically proposed the following:

“Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child,” Johnson stated in a handwritten amendment to Oklahoma senate bill 1433.

The personhood bill declares that “unborn children have protectable interest in life, health and well-being.” However, Johnson categorically opposes the initiative stating that “My amendment seeks to draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women.”

Indeed, Johnson’s amendment does in fact draw considerable attention to absurdity and duplicity but its not the personhood bill. That Johnson would mock initiatives defending human life beginning at conception and liken such measures to treating misplaced semen as an act against a child displays an astounding ignorance of basic biology. The only time in human develop that we can point to as the moment when a new person comes into existence is conception, when a whole new and unique sequence of DNA is created in a cell distinguishable from both the mother and the father. Everything from that moment on is muddled in ambiguity (and if your response to that is, what about delivery? See here. Or, if you say what about the moment of “viability”, remember that the definition of “viability” is constantly changing as medical technology becomes ever more advanced). Prior to conception, however, no act against an unborn child can be committed because one does not yet exist. Likening sperm to a zygote is the biological equivalent of comparing an adult stem cell to a man walking down the street and sarcastically remarking, “to make the destruction of this stem cell illegal is obviously absurd. Therefore, protecting that man’s rights demonstrates absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance.”

Yesterday, that bill passed the senate. Life Site News reports the following:

By an overwhelming majority, the Oklahoma Senate declared yesterday that human life begins at the moment of conception when a personhood bill cleared the legislative body by a vote of 34 to 8.

The vote comes days after the Virginia House of Delegates passed a similar personhood measure.

The Oklahoma bill, introduced by Sen. Brian Crain, is expected to pass the Republican controlled House as well, and will then head to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin for signature.

Fallin has not commented on the legislation, but has a strong pro-life voting record as a Governor and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

On a related note, Oklahoma’s and Virginia’s embracement of the pro-life movement reminds me of the many accusations from the religious right against Ron Paul, claiming that he is not truly pro-life and some going so far as to label him pro-choice (and coming from the right that means exclusively pro-abortion). However, Ron Paul’s plan of action concerning abortion is (of course) grounded in his constitutionalist approach to politics. Congressman Paul wants to pass a personhood amendment overturning Roe v. Wade and returning this issue back to the states. After all, Ron Paul points out:

“I consider abortion an act of violence. Violence is one thing that the government has the responsibility to curtail. For the most part, all acts of violence are handled by state law … murder, and manslaughter, and accidents, and all kinds of things … Therefore, I think they should deal with this issue. It’s a more difficult issue than just plain murder and therefore it should be worked out at the state level, so I don’t want the federal government to do it.”

Many conservatives have countered however that such a victory is worthless if the states choose to keep abortion legal. However, as more and more states like Virginia pass legislation defending the unborn I have to wonder, what are these particular conservatives afraid of? Are they so afraid of letting the people decide important issues like abortion that they would entrust a few old rich men in D.C. with the well-being of the millions of unborn? Should our out-of-touch ruling class make our decisions for us? How is that any better? I for one am not afraid of liberty. Freedom may be abused, surely, yet it remains the prerequisite for doing the right thing, the means by which the ends of virtue and justice are achieved. If you take away liberty then you take away people’s ability to choose the right thing as well as the wrong. Congratulations to the Oklahoma Senate for choosing what’s right while they still have a choice. Now, lets hope that the House and Governor Fallin make the right choice as well.


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