Oklahoma City, OK — More than a dozen lawmakers and area pastors gathered at the state Capitol on Monday to declare that the Oklahoma Personhood Act will not go down without a fight. The measure, which would define the beginning of life at conception and recognize the rights of unborn children at every age, passed overwhelmingly in the state Senate in February by a vote of 34 to 8. The bill also received the backing of the House Public Health committee in late March with a recommendation of “do pass.”
“We’re pro-life. We want a vote on this bill. We demand a vote so our constituents can see that what we say, we back up with a green light on this bill,” said Rep. Gus Blackwell, R, Laverne.
A second group, including representatives from the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Oklahomans for Life and other pro-personhood organizations and legislators will hold a gathering today to continue the call for an up or down vote.
“As Baptists we uphold the value and sanctity of life,” said Dan Fisher, Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon. “We believe that life should be protected from the moment of conception, and we believe that anything that stops that other than a natural process is the unnecessary ending of life that is called murder.”
“In our country, no person or government can arbitrarily and unilaterally just deprive you of your life,” added Paul Blair, Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond.
The Baptist General Convention sent an action alert following Speaker Steele’s decision to disallow a vote on the measure.
“Speaker Kris Steele and the State House Republican Caucus yesterday decided the Personhood Act, SB 1433, would not come to the House floor for a vote. He and your state representatives need to hear this is unacceptable!” it read. “Oklahomans are pro-life and they need to hear that from Oklahoma Baptists TODAY! Let them know that you support the pro-life Personhood Act, SB 1433, coming to a vote and ask it be heard immediately on the house floor.”
Likewise, the Catholic Dioceses distributed a handout supporting personhood in every Oklahoma parish.
“The Personhood Act was passed by the Senate and approved by a House Committee; but on Thursday of this week Speaker of the House Kris Steele announced that he would not allow SB1433 to be voted on by the entire House,” it read. “Please immediately call, email, fax and/or visit with Speaker Steele and with your own Oklahoma House Representative and tell them that an unborn child is a person and demand that the entire House be allowed to vote on SB 1433.”
Rep. Mike Christian, R, Oklahoma City commented, “We need to put it on the board and put a vote on it and let the people see where we stand. And again, if he doesn’t want to do that, then we take another step forward in the next couple of weeks to remove him as speaker.”
“I believe Oklahomans are overwhelmingly in support of the personhood initiative which says life begins at conception,” explained Rep. Mike Reynolds, R, Oklahoma City. “It’s on the agenda. All he has to do is recognize her.”