Writer finds flaws in state’s legislative process

By Alex Smith, Columnist

When exactly does life begin? Oklahoma Senate Bill 1433 (colloquially known as the “Personhood Bill”) aims to answer just that.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Brian Crain, states that “[t]he laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the state.”

In other words, everything from a zygote to a fetus at the end of gestation is granted the full protection of the law.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this is stirring more than a little controversy at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The intention of the bill, according to Crain, is to protect the unborn child. Crain said that he is sure Oklahomans value the lives of the unborn, and that he is attempting to incorporate recent Supreme Court decisions into state law.

Some legislators, such as Sen. Richard Lerblance, are concerned that the bill’s brevity and vagueness will lead to it being grossly misinterpreted and abused.

Concerns voiced by politicians and citizens pertain to the legal status of everything from abortions to contraceptives under the new legislation.

Crain argues that there is already a law much like this one on the books in Missouri, and that there have been no instances in which the legality of contraceptives or in vitro fertilization were questioned.

The bill isn’t due to go into effect until Nov. 1, and I’m sure that it will go through quite the legislative rigmarole before anything is decided.

Until then, I encourage readers to take a look at the bill for themselves and develop their own opinions. A copy of it can be obtained from oklegislature.gov.

The issues that I believe this bill really emphasizes deal with some of the troubles with living in an indirect democracy.

With senators able to pass sign bills and pass legislation in such an unrestricted manner, laws come into being that otherwise never would have been considered.

This is the system under which we live and there are ways of making a difference. I believe in the wake of so much controversy that the bill should probably become a state question to be voted on by the citizens of Oklahoma.

If that doesn’t happen, which it most likely won’t, I encourage students to write/call  their local representatives and senators.

Hey, worst case scenario, the Supreme Court will deem the legislation unconstitutional and we’ll have to secede from the union. That worked for the CSA, right?


I've always found the legal system in the States rather strange with the split between Federal and State law. It is quite worrying the amount of laws you have on the statute books int he States and the amount of red tape that this entails.

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