Pro-life group pushes for 'personhood' bill on November ballot

OKLAHOMA CITY - The fight to define personhood continues at the state capital.

Now a grassroots movement could amend the constitution and ultimately outlaw abortion.

On Thursday, Personhood Oklahoma launched a movement that could change Oklahoma's constitution, defining personhood as "beginning at conception."

"I'm basically here because of life. Because I think that life is important, from the very smallest to the very oldest person," said Aubrey Maricle, who supports the initiative.

Two similar bills in the state house and senate are also under consideration. But this measure would go to the voters.

"Our elected officials are responsible for protecting us as citizens, including the unborn. Unfortunately, they have failed in that task," said Dan Skerbitz, founder of Personhood Oklahoma.

He says some state statutes would have to be re-interpreted if the amendment passes-- meaning abortion and some types of birth control could be banned.

"Every person, from the moment of their biological beginning, should be affirmed in the constitutional law to have the same rights that we all enjoy," he said.

Advocates say the Personhood Initiative recognizes the rights of every person, including the unborn. But proponents say it attacks the rights of women and their families.

Just two days ago, opponents rallied against any kind of personhood legislation at the state capitol.

"These are decisions that should be left up to no person but the individuals involved. That's something that's so intensely personal, no one should judge or make a comment on the morality of those actions," said Ashley Skinnell, Oklahomans against the Personhood Act.

Opponents say the measure would limit rights to birth control, in vitro fertilization and abortion. Some doctors are even speaking out against it.

"In the final analysis, what Oklahomans have to decide, is who do they want involved in their healthcare? Should a group of legislators and judges in the future be involved in their healthcare, or should the healthcare be decided upon by the patient and their doctor?" said Dr. Karl Hansen, a fertility specialist.

The campaign must collect 155,000 petition signatures in the next three months to get the measure on the November ballot.

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