Oklahoma Senate Passes 'Personhood' Act
Says life begins at conception, but supporters say it doesn't ban abortion
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2012 10:26 AM CST
In Oklahoma, life has begun.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – The Oklahoma Senate has passed a controversial bill that declares that life begins at the moment of conception, in a landslide 34-8 vote. The Personhood Act passed yesterday after two hours of debate. It's unclear what effect the bill will have, however; its author says it's just a statement and doesn't ban or even restrict abortion rights, birth control access, or stem cell research. He adds that anyone saying so is merely "fear mongering," the Oklahoman reports.

The bill had garnered widespread attention after Democrat Constance Johnson introduced a tongue-in-cheek amendment declaring it an act against the unborn for men to waste sperm (click to read it). "It was humorous," Johnson said in yesterday's debate, "but I was serious as a heart attack. … Maybe nobody in this chamber gets it but somebody heard that all we're asking for is for this conversation to include both individuals that are necessary to bring life about." The amendment was tabled. A similar bill is working its way through the Virginia legislature; click to read.