Although I wasn’t alive in the 1970s I am vaguely getting a sense of what it may have felt like. For feminists at least. In my feminist class earlier this month, in between Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir, an announcement was made that has since utterly confounded me. SB 1433, the Personhood Act. In Oklahoma, where I am currently obtaining my Ph.D., a bill was written by Senator Brian Crain and co-authored by House of Representative member Lisa Billy (yes, a woman). The bill is really quite simple, only two pages; and yet this 2-page document, if passed, has the power to not only undo decades worth of feminist struggle in the state of Oklahoma but also to make abortion illegal. Wait. What?! What year is this?
Within this 2-page document the state determines that “the life of each human being begins at conception”; and unborn children have all the rights granted to every other person and citizen in this country (unless the fetus is LGBTQ?)–but only until birth, at which time they lose these rights. The bill further states that
“Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.”
Reassuring, except for the case of the woman in Mississippi who was charged with murder for having a miscarriage. And the fact that this bill does not protect the rights and safety of women who are victims of rape and sexual assault. And the fact that this bill does not care about the continuation of the rights of fetuses into childhood to ensure their protection in homes of unwanted, abusive, or neglecting families. With so many flaws what’s to worry about, right? Except that this bill has already been approved by the state senate overwhelmingly 34:8 and is pending approval from the House.
Now that’s cause for concern. So what can we do? Probably not much, this is Oklahoma after all. According to my husband we can wait till the bill is passed, becomes law, and then is deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (like so many other unconstitutional laws that passed briefly before). I, on the other hand, prefer to take a more active approach. So, with a handful of friends and 650 of our closest friends, we will take to the steps of the capitol tomorrow afternoon. Now the question is, with so many logical fallacies in this bill, which one should I choose to address on my protest sign??