Personhood law flawed, wrong

March 2, 2012 Editorials Print Print

In a sweeping show of incompetence, religious showmanship and blind lack of consideration, the Oklahoma Senate has declared life starts at conception, meaning embryos and fetuses are full people and entitled to the same constitutional rights.

Jeremy Cloud

Called the personhood law, this law is designed to outlaw abortion while ignoring Roe v. Wade.

It should be clearly stated at the outset that this author is not pro-abortion. Rather, this author is anti-stupidity.

There are so many things wrong with this bill.

First, there are no exceptions made for medical necessity or circumstance. If there is a serious complication and the only treatment is to terminate the pregnancy, the doctor must allow both mother and child to die, unless the child dies first.


If a woman is a victim of rape or incest, she must carry the child to term, regardless of psychological or physical trauma.

But those are only the immediate consequences. What happens when some unscrupulous person realizes just how easy it is to manipulate such a ridiculous law?

Let’s say a woman goes in for treatment for some common illness and is unknowingly pregnant. She gets treated, has a miscarriage. What’s to prevent that woman from suing the doctor for manslaughter and malpractice?

Or worse, what if women could be accused of assault on the unborn for having a glass of wine or a cigarette while pregnant?

And what does this law seek to accomplish?

Even if abortion is made illegal in Oklahoma, those seeking those treatments may go elsewhere. That’s thousands of tax dollars and medical fees flowing to other states.

Readers may think, oh, how dreadful to discuss abortion in terms of tax dollars and economic necessity. Those wonderful people working to pass this bill are only thinking of the children.

Ok, let’s talk about the children. Let’s talk about the child born with a congenital illness as a result of rape, incest or some other cause.

Let’s talk about the child whose parents will be unwilling or unable to take care of him or her or the child whose birth results in the death of his or her mother, who has no other relatives. In short, let’s talk about the children who will become wards of the state.

On a related note, as of last year, it costs just over a quarter of a million dollars to raise one child from birth to 18, according to a report by CNN Money.

Bottom line: this law would create problems for mothers, placing them in harm’s way through denial of treatment and possible legal consequences for seeking treatment.

This law would create problems for health-care providers, by removing options they might otherwise have had, and opening them up for a whole new class of lawsuits.

This law would create problems for the very children it attempts to help, by ensuring that resources for helping children who are wards of the state will be spread even more thinly.

And it would create problems for taxpayers, by enacting a difficult-to-enforce law that would drive up taxes, lower revenue and create bottomless money pits if it’s enforced to the letter.

So who the heck is this law for?

Why, politicians of course. After all, how can they get re-elected if they don’t prove they care more about religion than constituents?

—Jeremy Cloud


To contact Jeremy Cloud, email


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