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New Okla. bill limits reproductive rights

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OKLAHOMA CITY—Senate Bill 1433 has Oklahomans choosing sides. The measure, which states that life starts at conception, passed a committee this week with a 5-2 vote.

Sen. Constance Johnson said, “That to me is the greatest intrusion of government yet in the State of Oklahoma into people’s private lives.”

Sen. Johnson says the “Personhood Bill” is imbalanced because it doesn’t include a males’ role in conception.

She decided to write an amendment, which has drawn as much controversy as the original bill.

“The amendment says, ‘Any action in which a man deposits his sperm anywhere other than a woman’s vagina would be considered a violation of the Personhood statute,” says Johnson.

Bill 1433 states all unborn children should have protected interests in life, health and well-being.

However, critics say it could impact families who use in-vitro fertilization, women who have miscarriages or those who take birth control.

Pastor Dan Fisher of Trinity Church in Yukon says, “To me, it’s just a smoke screen to try and bring a negative light on a bill that definitely needs to be passed.”

Fisher believes an embryo is a person.

“Everything is there for a fully developed human,” he said. “All you need is nourishment and time; the same is true for a one-year-old. So everything that is necessary is there at the embryo stage.”

Senator Johnson’s amendment was immediately tabled.

While she wanted to make a point, she says there are other policies that legislators should be concerned about like the economy, health care and education.

Although Senate Bill 1433 made it out of its committee, it will have several more rounds of votes before it is either killed or made law.