The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a proposed “fetal personhood” initiative in Oklahoma without comment, upholding the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling.
The Liberty Counsel appealed the case to the Supreme Court on behalf of Personhood Oklahoma after the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the proposed ballot initiative earlier this year.
The ballot initiative sought to amend the Oklahoma Constitution by granting fertilized eggs and embryos the same constitutional rights as people. If ratified by voters, the amendment would have completely outlawed abortion under any circumstances.
“The issue is not about the merits of personhood but about whether a state court can interfere with the rights of citizens to gather signatures to amend their constitutions. On the issue, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decision is wrong. But this is by no means the end of the road in Oklahoma. Personhood initiatives will continue to expand throughout the country,” Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel said.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the ballot initiative violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the right to have an abortion.
Legislation similar to the “fetal personhood” ballot measure passed in the Oklahoma Senate in February by a 34-8 vote. However, Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele and the State House Republican Caucus decided not to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.
The pro-life Christian group Personhood USA and its state affiliates have campaigned to add “fetal personhood” amendments to numerous state constitutions. But no “fetal personhood” amendments will appear on the November ballot in any state this year.
Eric W. Dolan
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