U.S. Supreme Court declines to allow Oklahoma 'personhood' initiative to move forward

Without comment, justices let stand a decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that the proposed ballot question would place an unconstitutional ban on abortion.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL Washington Bureau ccasteel@opubco.com Published: October 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to allow a proposed “personhood” initiative to move forward in Oklahoma.

Without comment, justices let stand a decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court that the proposed ballot question would place an unconstitutional ban on abortion.

Supporters of the petition contended that the state court had prematurely ruled on abortion because the question had not been passed by state voters or implemented by the Oklahoma Legislature. The initiative would define personhood, or human life, as beginning at conception and grant all rights, including due process, to those meeting the definition.

Backers of personhood proposals in Oklahoma and other states are hoping to get a law passed that could then be challenged and used as a vehicle for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the landmark Roe versus Wade abortion decision.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union backed the challenge in Oklahoma to the proposed ballot initiative. That challenge succeeded in the state court as backers were just starting to gather signatures.