Repro Wrap: Oklahoma’s Stealth “Personhood” Push and Other News

Oklahoma, you’ve been a very, very busy state this week. Previous attempts to restrict the way that a provider can offer medication abortion — requiring an outdated FDA protocol rather than relying on newer, more efficient medical best practices — had been blocked by the courts, who noted that the requirements were written in such a way as to make it impossible to ever proscribe a medication abortion in the first place. Now, Oklahoma has taken another swing at the restriction, saying they’ve addressed the court’s concerns.

Abortion restriction opponents say the legislature has changed little in their new bill, which still requires three times the necessary amount of drug to be used, and only allows it to be used in the first seven weeks of a pregnancy even though it is just as effective through the ninth. The governor, however, signed the bill anyway.

But that wasn’t all that Oklahoma was working on. A bill that had been working its way through the legislature that would put medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers had a few stealth amendments tacked onto it during the session. Now, it also states that personhood begins at the moment of conception, and has outlawed embryonic stem cell research and requires all embryos to remain perpetually frozen unless implanted in an attempt to create a baby. If the amended bill makes it to the governor, expect that to be the end of fertility treatment in the state.

Speaking of personhood, North Dakota will be battling an amendment this fall. Meet one of the women who will lead the charge to defeat it. And Alabama’s Supreme Court has once more defined a person at the moment of conception, at least when it comes to saying that a pregnant person has “endangered” one through her actions.

The governor of Mississippi has signed a so called “fetal pain” ban into law, after legislators revised it to make the bill ban abortion at 20 weeks gestation (18 weeks after conception) versus 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post conception) like all of the other fetal pain bills in the country. That makes the bill even more constitutionally problematic than its slightly less restrictive versions but, with almost no abortions being performed that late in the state anyway, the odds that it will be challenged are very, very slim. Florida’s state house has moved forward on its ban on abortions after viability, allowing them only in cases where denying an abortion is likely to result in the pregnant person’s death.

Speaking of pregnant people’s potential death, two amazing pieces discussing the devastation that closing the abortion clinics in the Rio Grande Valley are having on low income and undocumented people in Texas, one from Al Jazeera, and one by Irin Carmon. Both are must reads.

Abolish Human Abortion is continuing its battle to bring graphic anti-abortion photos to high schools across the nation and, unsurprisingly, parents continue to not be happy about it.

It’s still primary season, and for the GOP that means sorting out the candidates that are really against abortion from the candidates that really, really with every fiber of their being hate abortion. Both North Carolina and Georgia senate candidates are trying to decide who is the best anti-abortion candidate of all, and both candidate pools have something in common: each has at least one “pro-life Ob-GYN.” That’s a very disturbing political trend.

Tennessee is still waiting to see if its governor is going to sign or veto a new bill that would add additional penalties to pregnant women who use drugs. In an unusual occurrence, it is actually politicians who oppose abortion who are urging the governor to kill the bill, fearing that women struggling with addiction will abort rather than risk being thrown in jail because of their drug use. Meanwhile, Jeanne Flavin writes a beautiful piece about forgiveness and compassion for those who are pregnant and fighting addiction.

Arizona’s access to abortion has become dire, between clinic closures, medication abortion restrictions and now this new push for clinic inspections without any notice. How bad have things gotten? The state has finally drawn enough issues to merit its own Rolling Stone listicle. That’s pretty bad.

Finally, in some good news, science thinks it has discovered how eggs that have been fertilized learn to reject subsequent sperm, and what allows the initial sperm to penetrate in the first place. This discovery could lead not just to better infertility treatments, but the possibility that we can create real, effective, non-hormonal birth control. That’s something everyone should be excited about.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim V8 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

I am not in favor of abortion as a means of birth control. But I think others should be allowed access. Government should not be in this decision at all. This is a decision between a person's body and their continued health.

Tamara Burks
Tamara Burks3 years ago


opposes abortion – that abortion is nothing short of murder. These films were then aggressively shown in churches throughout America – courtesy of the Schaeffer's politically connected benefactors.

Tamara Burks
Tamara Burks3 years ago

Found this interesting article about how the religious people started believing that life begins at conception.

It's interesting.

Here's a couple of the passages that might show you why it's interesting

Safe modern medical abortion is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. When this procedure was unexpectedly legalized in 1972 many struggled to understand it. There were no centuries old church decrees concerning abortion that were widely known in lay circles in existence. The responsibility therefore fell on all believers to decide for themselves what the "will of God" might be concerning abortion. Although abortion was first widely embraced as a godsend by many respected Christians thinkers, including Southern Baptist theologians, opposing forces soon emerged intent on shaping the broader layperson's understanding. Certain Christian activists and authors like John Rushdoony and Francis Shaeffer began teaching that abortion is an unprecedented form of last days evil and those who practice it commit murder.

With doctrinal uncertainty now brewing in Evangelical America, some in the Republican party saw the perfect opportunity to win a larger segment of the Evangelical voting block away from the Democratic Party. Frank Shaeffer and his father were commissioned to create several films designed to teach American Evangelicals that God strongly oppo

Dennis D.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you Michael T.

Michael T.
Michael T3 years ago

@Marriane C said (in her response to the abhorrent position professed by Peter) the following and I am reposting it so that those whose brains are thick about this situation and incapable of thinking beyond themselves get a chance to read it again in the hopes that it removes the closed doors (doors they willingly shut off to the world because of their ideology) they have erected willfully in which they willingly sacrifice truth at our expense.

@Marianne C sez: What you CANNOT do is change reality to match your opinion. Not every pregnancy is wanted, not every pregnancy is welcome, and not every woman is meant to be a mother. You can't force others to deny physical reality, hard medical facts, and their own knowledge, and instead accept your emotional interpretations.

Maybe you weren’t raised with religion. However, you HAVE long since begun to sound WAY too much like a brain-washed 16-year-old who grew up in a plural marriage cult: terribly self-righteous, but just a little paranoid about it.

Add that to your explanation of sex, @Marianne C., and your’s husband’s awareness of the experience of delivering a baby, having passed a kidney stone? Excellent.

Michael T.
Michael T3 years ago

@Dennis. Excellent explanation of what faith and belief are to you. It is well said and in no way tells someone else they are right or wrong for thinking about things differently. It appreciates science for what it is and what it provides in explaining us and our universe in ways that expand our knowledge and understanding.

You don’t proselytize, you don’t preach, you don’t try to shame me for thinking differently. And you explain the fear driven aspects that many of us of all walks of faith and those of us who do not engage in faith in any kind have observed in those who practice and claim in oppressive ways their belief in ways that must be adhered to by anyone in fear of burning in some fantasy place they call hell. Thank you for that piece.

Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

@ Tamara B:

Peter must have had a much different sex ed class that I did. Sex ed made ME want sex like I wanted somebody to put crushed glass in my tap shoes and tell me to dance all night. It made me want sex like I wanted molten lead poured down my gym pants, then have to run a marathon.

The truth he must have missed can be best defined, I think, by the single ultimate reality about sexual reproduction: men get to poke; it's women who have to push.

If any man EVER had to push the equivalent to an 8-pound bone-in beef roast through the head of his penis -- that being the biological equivalent to a woman's cervix -- birth control would become a form of holy communion, and abortion would be a blessed sacrament.

My husband, who is without doubt the world's most nearly perfect man (sorry guys; he just is) has had one kidney stone in his life. It was a "large" kidney stone, but was still only about the size of a *very small* peppercorn. After it had passed, he was showing it to me rather proudly and telling me how much it had hurt.

"Imagine if it weighed seven and a half pounds," I suggested.

He looked at that tiny little thing that had cost him so much very real, genuine pain, thought for a second, and said,

"Oh. My God, how does ANYBODY give birth?"

Tamara Burks
Tamara Burks3 years ago

Peter C
I think it's a lot more likely that you being a teenage boy had more to do with you wanting sex than any sex ed class. The amount of teenage pregnancies in places where the only sex ed is abstinence tell us that teenagers are going to have sex anyway.