Oklahoma City, OK — After numerous reports that the Oklahoma Personhood Act, SB 1433, was “dead”, Personhood USA and local affiliate Personhood Oklahoma have learned that the Personhood Act is still alive and could still be brought down for a vote before Thursday, April 26, 2012.
SB 1433 received the backing of the House Committee on Public Health by a vote of 7 to 4 in late March with a recommendation of “do pass”, and passed the State Senate in February by a vote of 34 to 8. Despite it’s overwhelming support, and expectancy to pass in the House of Representatives, Speaker of the House Republican Kris Steele blocked the vote on Wednesday, denying pro-life House Representatives the opportunity to vote on the historic measure. Representative Steele publicly stated at a state Capitol press conference that the House Republican Caucus had voted not to take up the measure. It has now been reported in the Tulsa World that Representative Randy Terrill asserted that there was no caucus vote, followed up by Speaker Steele’s admission that it was in fact a utilization of the whip system instead, so there is no record of votes on the matter.
“The idea that this was a caucus decision is bogus,” confirmed Rep. Mike Reynolds, R, Oklahoma City. “It is my understanding that there was no vote in caucus.”
The Tulsa World also reported that according to Representative Steele, if the measure comes up for a vote, he will vote yes.
In 2011, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed HB 1571, a personhood-like bill that ended up dying in the Senate committee. However, none of the local or national pro-life groups were able to support that bill after a hostile amendment was introduced in the House of Representatives by pro-abortion Rep. Doug Cox.
“We are not surprised that there are a few Republicans such as Representative Doug Cox and House Speaker Steele, who wish to suppress life-affirming and pro-family legislation such as the Personhood Act,” commented Keith Mason, Personhood USA President. “However, it is surprising that these Republicans can be allowed to do everything in their power to kill a bill and then blame the entire Republican caucus. It is not too late – truly pro-life Oklahoma Representatives can still call for a vote and pass SB 1433.”
House Representatives have told Personhood Oklahoma and Personhood USA that the bill is still alive and could still be heard before next Thursday. Pro-life and pro-family organizations are calling for a vote.
“We are calling on the Oklahoma House of Representatives to vote on the Personhood Act, and we call on Oklahoma voters to remind them of the importance of SB 1433,” continued Mason. “If the Christians in Oklahoma will rise up and demand a vote, it will happen but they must act now! We are encouraging all pro-life people in Oklahoma to relentlessly call their Representatives and the Governor and demand that 1433 receive a vote.”